MARQUETTE - It was not a night to remember for the Marquette Senior High School hockey team.
Giving up four first period goals, the Redmen lost an 8-0 decision to Escanaba Thursday in an MHSAA Division 2 pre-regional final at Marquette's Lakeview Arena.
The Eskymos (24-3) will now meet Saginaw Heritage Saturday in Gaylord in a regional final.
Marquette’s Tyler Jackson, left, and Escanaba’s Derek Chaillier battle to gain possession of the puck during the first period on Thursday at Lakeview Arena in Marquette. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
Reputed to be explosive on offense, the Eskymos proved it by scoring on their first two shots on net and four times on their initial six attempts.
"When (the Eskymos) got the opportunity to score, they buried it," MSHS coach Mike L'Huillier said. "They just had too much skill and were faster than us."
Sophomore Levi Wunder scored twice in the opening period - once on the power play - and wound up with a hat trick and an assist for Esky. The former Marquette Electricians Midget AAA icer ran his season goal total to 51.
"He's a remarkable player," second-year Escanaba coach Tim McCarthy said. "He feeds off his team.
"The kids around him make him good. The drive he has whether in practice or in games ... you never see him give up."
Wunder scored just 1:30 into the game on a power play effort, then Steve Wood made it 2-0 after a misplay at the MSHS net at 3:45.
"That first goal put some fire in us," McCarthy said. "The second one was even better. It took some wind out of (Marquette's) sails."
Wunder then scored on a break-in and Jake Eastin scored at 13:08 to make it 4-0.
"We didn't expect to go into the locker room up 4-0," McCarthy said.
Marquette goaltender Evan Kyle wandered far from his net to corral a loose puck on an MSHS power play, lost control and couldn't get back in time to make a save on Eastin's shot.
"(The Eskymos) were all over us the first period," L'Huillier said. "It was just a bad period."
Nick Vandermissen scored the first of his two goals in the game in the second period when he stole a puck and beat Kyle to put the Eskymos five-up.
Escanaba put the game away in the final 7:23 of the third period with goals by TJ Myrick, Wunder (on a rebound) and Vandermissen. - the latter's marker coming with 20 seconds left in the contest.
Marquette (7-20) put 24 shots on Nick LeMire in the Esky net. Kyle finished with 19 stops.
The Redmen had some good chances to score - particularly Justin Cain in the first period, McKinley Larson with a shot off the post in the second and Scott Frazier in the third, but couldn't beat LeMire.
"I thought if we had scored to make it 2-1 or even 3-1, we would have gained some momentum," L'Huillier said. "But their entire team played three solid periods.
"We have a lot of young, new players, but the team came a long way. We had a lot of adversity, but the kids played hard.
"We'll regroup next season," he added.
Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.