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Marauders overcome big deficit to secure spot in regional final

It was a tale of two periods for the Grosse Ile and Carlson hockey teams once the puck dropped at Kennedy Ice Rink on Wednesday night.

It looked ugly early on for the Marauders after Grosse Ile went up 3-0 in the first period.

But a shorthanded goal at the end of the first sparked a quick change of momentum and a huge power play opportunity lifted Carlson to a 4-3 win and a spot in Saturday’s regional final.

“They jumped out real quick in the first period,” Carlson Coach Dennis Gundick said. “(But) we told the kids let’s not try to get too much too quick.

“Let’s just go ahead and try to get one goal at a time; don’t try to get them all in one shot.”

The Red Devils took a lead 6:25 into the night’s contest and extended it with goals 30 seconds apart three minutes later.

Steven Plyler knocked in the first two with assists going to Hunter McGough, Dean Ziberi and Garrett Jakunskas.

Jake Ketelhut put Grosse Ile up by three with help from Marino Moccia.

But three minutes later Carlson got its night started.

Austin Jarinski worked hard down below the Grosse Ile net and came up with a warp around shot that found the back of the net for a 3-1 game.

The goal was short handed.

“That was the turning point,” Gundick said. “That gave us some oomph.”

Things took a turn for the worse for Grosse Ile in the second.

Carlson’s Zak Skog scored an unassisted goal to start the first and cut the deficit to one.

Six and a half minutes into the period, momentum quickly shifted.

Grosse Ile’s Jack Gatti was called for checking from behind and was give a five-minute major and game disqualification.

The Marauders scored twice on the five-minute major to take the lead.

The second goal would go on to be the game-winner.

Not long into the five-minute power play, Gage Darga found the back of the net with help from Drew Coleman and Dylan Nixdorf.

Ten seconds later Coleman added a goal to his assist with help from Darga and Nixdorf.

“Fortunate for us we got that five minute power play,” Gundick said. “That’s what we’ve been working on is power play and penalty kill.”

The Marauders knew the game was far from over and the two teams battled hard in the third.

Grosse Ile pulled its goal near the end of the game for a man advantage but could not find the back of the net to force overtime.

“In the third period we said we’ve got 17 minutes left to play,” Gundick said. “We know they’re a good team. Their goaltender’s really good and it was hard to get one by that guy.

“Grosse Ile’s a good coached team and they’re and up and coming team.”

Gundick said it was just an overall exciting game.

“It was a good game and that’s how it’s played up and down the ice,” he said. “We’ve got depth and I think that’s what helped us generate goals.”

Grosse Ile Coach Jason Durbin echoed Gundick’s thoughts and said it was a great game with an unfortunate hit on his team’s part.

“I knew they had a good team,” he said about his feelings heading into the contest. “I knew our guys got better throughout the season, but once again we only got three goals and sometimes you’ve gotta score four or five to win a game and that’s been difficult for us all year.”

Despite the loss, Durbin gave credit to his team for never giving up.

“I give them a lot of credit; they hung in there and they stayed with their systems and unfortunately for us we came out on the losing end,” he said. “It was a great game; lots of emotion, lots of support on both sides.

“With the exception of one play, overall it was a good game.”

The Red Devils will graduate four seniors at the end of this year and Durbin looks forward to next season with a core group of returners.

“Overall, I thought our guys improved dramatically from day one to our last game,” he said. “I’m extremely proud of every one of them for giving us that effort and that’s all we can ask for as coaches.

“I don’t know what the future holds, but hopefully we can build off of this.”

With the win, Carlson will move on to face Gabriel Richard in the regional final Saturday night at 8:00.

“Richard’s a real good team,” Gundick said. “They move the puck well and they beat us twice in the regular season so it should be a good game.”

Last Updated: 2/27/2014 1:32:33 AM EST

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