Plymouth — In hockey, when two evenly matched teams are going toe-to-toe, it’s usually a lucky bounce that will decide the outcome. That was the case Friday at USA Hockey Arena, where defending state champion Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood was ousted by Hancock in overtime of a Division 3 semifinal, 2-1.
Battling in the corner of the Cranbrook-Kingswood zone for possession, the puck popped up and hit Cranbrook-Kingswood’s Dawson Zahorian right in the facemask. It landed at the feet of Hancock’s Alex Nordstrom, who made a move to get around goalie Stephen Friedland and buried the game-winner in the back of the net.
The power-play goal came on the heels of a 5-on-3 advantage for Hancock, which had scored its first goal with a two-man advantage.
Just two minutes prior, Hancock had killed a Cranbrook-Kingswood power play early in the extra frame. Cranbrook-Kingswood had put the first eight shots of overtime on net, but the final four shots came from Hancock during its power play.
“If you give a good team enough chances, they’re going to bury it,” Cranbrook-Kingswood coach Andy Weidenbach said. “We had the power play and weren’t able to capitalize, and that was the difference in the game.”
Cranbrook-Kingswood (19-10-1) went 0-for-4 with the man-advantage, including a seven-minute stretch over the first and second periods where it just couldn’t take advantage of Hancock’s blunders.
Dylan Paavola was called for a 5-minute major for tripping with just under four minutes remaining in the first period. At the start of the second, with Hancock ready to kill the power play, Tanner Givens was called for cross-checking, giving Cranbrook-Kingswood every opportunity to strike first.
“I thought that was a huge point for us to start gaining some of the momentum back,” Hancock coach Dan Rouleau said. “We got off to a slow start, but I thought we really grinded it out.”
Hancock (23-6) got on the board in the second period, taking advantage of a 5-on-3 after Cole Adaskaveg was called for cross checking. A deflected puck got behind Friedland and was punched in by Luke Rautio.
C.J. Regula tied things up late in the period, stealing the puck deep in the Hancock zone before making a nifty move that sent both the defender and goalkeeper to the ice before putting it in the back of the net.
Hancock is back the final for the first time since winning a state championship in 1999.
More Division 3
Grand Rapids Catholic Central 3, Chelsea 2 (OT): Chelsea scored twice in the first period before Grand Rapids C.C. roared back with the last three.
Jack Pendery scored the winner with 5:25 remaining in overtime for Grand Rapids C.C., which outshot Chelsea, 10-2 in the extra period and 53-24 for the game.
Sean Cox and Jacob McIntyre (unassisted, power play) scored for Chelsea, which got an incredible 50 saves from Derek Schaedig.
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer