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HOCKEY: Carlson tops Riverview with two shorthanded goals

There was 2:33 left to play.

Carlson was up 3-1 on Riverview but had two guys in the penalty box. Riverview pulled its goalie for a 6-on-3 situation.

Then Carlson scored two goals.

No, that’s not a typo.

Less than 30 seconds into Riverivew’s three-man advantage it was Carlson’s Nick Milot who scored the short handed-extremely shorthanded-empty net goal.

Riverview was left wondering what exactly had happened and the Marauders took advantage again when Pat Holder got the second short handed and empty netter of the night, smacking one in from the far side of the net as the Bucs were trying to clear the zone.

Earlier in the game the teams gave the crowd quite an entertaining game with big bursts of energy and some great defensive stops in the longtime rivalry game.

The crowd was a big one too in the team’s sixth annual Breast Cancer Awareness game. Each team had a sixth man on the ice with the turnout of student support.

The game winner came late in the opening period.

Austin Bliznik took a shot from just outside the top of the circle and fired it to the back of the net.

Milot and had the assist on the goal that made it 2-0.

Almost six minutes earlier, Carlson’s Gage Darga banged one in on the power play, assisted by Brandyn Fenech for a 1-0 lead.

But Riverview wasn’t about to go to the locker room empty handed and got on board with a power play goal of its own.

Dalton Sutherland took a hard shot with 1:13 left that was lost for a second before it popped behind the Carlson net minder.

The second period passed with a handful of penalties and a few key Riverview scoring chances, but the score held through the next 17 minutes.

The third period started with an early Carlson scoring chance but Riverview’s Shane Nowak broke it up to keep it a one-goal game.

But there was still hockey left to be played and penalties left to be had.

Riverview was called for an early slashing penalty and the Bucs, traditionally so strong on the penalty kill this season, allowed the second power play goal of the night.

Fenech passed the puck across the front of the Riverview goal to Dylan Nixdorf, waiting at the open corner.

The senior smacked it in and Carlson had the two-goal advantage.

Riverview had a few more key scoring chances with rebound shots, but couldn’t find the back of the net and was forced to pull its goalie.

It was the third time the two teams had met this season and they finished the year 1-1-1. They tied during a holiday tournament earlier in the season and Riverview took the first league match up.

Carlson Coach Dennis Gundick was all too familiar with the rivalry and knew the Bucs would not stop fighting.

“We told our kids this team’s not gonna give up and you’re either gonna go out there and let them get back in the game, or go out there and play the third period,” he said.

And the team responded with three goals in the third for the win.

“All the stuff we’ve been working on, they put to use tonight, so we’re happy,” Gundick said. “We work on the penalty kill a lot.

“We work on the five on four PK, five on three PK. That’s probably what we do a lot more than we do anything else.”

Gundick said the teams are on the same page as far as running power plays and said it showed with power play goals from each team.

Gundick was especially pleased with his team continuing to cut down on penalties and the continued work of goalie Ellis Graham.

“Ellis played phenomenal tonight,” Gundick said. “In my opinion he’s one of the better goaltenders Downriver and he’s been stepping up.

“We challenged our team are you ready to go out there and play the third period, and they did.”

The win is sweet for the juniors and seniors, who two seasons ago as freshmen and sophomores went 1-23.

It was a young team with a tough schedule and the players physically were not ready, but the hard work is paying off.

“Hats off to the kids who stuck to the program,” Gundick said. “It’s hard to go 1-23.

“Coming to the rink everyday and practicing and trying to regroup. But not one kid in that locker room quit. They came to the locker room and worked as hard as they could. We just told them to be patient.”

The patience paid off and the team now lives for games like Friday.

And the Riverview rivalry will have one more go-around this season.

The teams will face off one more time in the one-and-done state playoffs with the rivalry, and everything else on the line.

“It’s huge,” Gundick said of the game in three weeks. “We’re both 500 against each other so now it’s huge. It’s hats off to anybody.”







Last Updated: 1/31/2014 11:25:04 PM EST

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