MARQUETTE - A season filled with disappointments got a little brighter for the Marquette Senior High hockey team Tuesday night.
Scott Frazier, Shawn Cornock and McKinley Larson scored two goals apiece as the Redmen beat Kingsford, 7-4, in an MHSAA Division 2 pre-regional playoff game at Marquette's Lakeview Arena.
Coach Mike L'Huillier's MSHS skaters, now 7-19 on the season, will host Escanaba (23-3) at 7 p.m. Thursday in a pre-regional final. The Eskymos advanced with an 8-0 mercy win over Negaunee Tuesday night.
Marquette’s Cam Place and Kingsford’s Reid Pietila battle over possession of the puck during the first period of an MHSAA Division 2 pre-regional hockey game at Lakeview Arena on Tuesday. MSHS won 7-4 to advance to Thursday’s pre-regional final against Escanaba at Lakeview Arena. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"Everyone wanted to keep going," said Cornock, who counted a shorthanded tally among his two markers. "We don't want it to end.
"We'll try to keep it going against Escanaba."
The Redmen took a 2-0 first period lead, held a 4-2 advantage after two and then had to overcome three goals by the Flivvers' Ted Pietila to ice the win.
"It was our best effort this season with our forecheck," L'Huillier said, noting it's only the second time this season his team had scored seven goals in a game. "We also cycled well, took the body, were disciplined and took a lot of shots.
"Our first period was awesome."
Frazier and Cornock gave the Redmen, who outshot Kingsford (9-15) by an 18-5 margin, their early 2-0 lead.
"Coach told us to play our system early, our game," Cornock said. "Our pressure was a key."
Nick Brule got Kingsford back to within a goal with an unassisted marker just 2:41 into the middle period. But the Redmen quickly responded, with Larson and Justin Cain scoring just 1:42 apart to make it 4-1.
"Typically, we have a slow first period," Flivvers' head coach Jim Peterson said. "We picked it up the second and third, but made too many mistakes that Marquette capitalized on.
"Their team speed hurt us. They're quick and strong on the puck"
Pietila notched his first marker of the night on a shot from the point at 12:22 of the second stanza, but Larson and Cornock - on a shorthanded effort - put MSHS in front 6-2 by the 4:02 mark of the third period.
"I told coach I wanted to go out on the penalty kill and be aggressive," Cornock said. "I got lucky when (the Flivvers) misplayed the puck."
Kingsford didn't quit, however. Pietila scored twice - once on a power play - within a 1:47 span to cut its deficit to 6-4.
"I got a little nervous at that point," L'Huillier said.
Frazier iced the game for MSHS, however, with a rebound for his second goal of the game.
"We didn't quit," Peterson said. "We took some higher quality shots after the first period."
Evan Kyle made 16 saves in net for MSHS. Wes Paupore turned aside 29 shots for Kingsford.
As for Escanaba, L'Huillier said he believes his team is "pretty evenly matched" with the Eskymos even though his Redmen dropped 7-5 and 3-1 decisions to Escanaba this season.
"They have one big line led by Levi Wunder," he said. "If we can shut his line down and get some good goaltending, our depth can pull us through."
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.