MARQUETTE - The American Legion Bantam AA youth hockey team of Marquette was swept in a three-game series by one of the nation's top 20 teams last weekend.
Playing Saturday at Lakeview Arena and Sunday at the Berry Events Center, Traverse City Pepsi won the games 2-0, 4-3 and 1-0.
The TC team is ranked 17th nationally by myhockeyrankings.com, according to Legion coach Brian Nebel.
"(During the previous weekend,) TC outscored their opponents 28-0 in five games, and they are by far the best team we've seen this year," Nebel said.
"They showed why, yet we held them to two goals and still had some chances, too," he added about the series opener.
The visitors got on the scoreboard late in the first period and added a power-play tally in the middle of the second for insurance off Marquette goalie Travis Cameron, who made 38 saves.
The Legion managed just 13 shots on Pepsi netminder Nick Meier.
Though the second game was the highest scoring of the weekend, no goals were scored during the first two periods as seven pucks in total got by the goalies in the third period.
Marquette's Kristian Jackson opened the scoring 1:47 into the third with an unassisted goal before TC tied it 1-1 exactly two minutes later on a power play.
Joey Phillips then scored back-to-back goals 1:08 apart, the first one on a power play, to make it 3-1 Legion. Assists on the goals went to Kyle Lane and Branden Campbell.
Then starting with a shorthanded goal about two minutes after Phillips' ouburst, Traverse City netted the game's final three goals for the win. The final goal came with 50 seconds left to play.
The visitors again held a big advantage in shots, 49-16, but Marquette's Jack Eyler made 45 saves to keep the final result close.
Sunday's only goal was scored by Pepsi near the midpoint of the second period off Cameron, who made 29 saves as his teammates were again outshot, 30-12.
"(This was) our most complete game yet," Nebel said about Sunday's finale. "This weekend series was just great hockey and helped make us a better team."
Marquette hosts the Green Bay, Wis., Gamblers Bantam AAA team in another three-game series on Saturday and Sunday.