Anemic on offense

Soo holds off Redmen 4-2 on opening night of Marquette Showcase

Marquette’s Colin Gaffney, left, and Sault Ste. Marie’s Logan Maki chase after the puck in the Sault zone during the Marquette Showcase Friday night, Dec. 29, 2017, at Lakeview Arena in Marquette. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)


Journal Sports Writer

MARQUETTE — Senior captain Joe Phillips’ goal and assist weren’t enough to avert Marquette Senior High School’s 4-2 loss to Sault Ste. Marie in the opening night of the Marquette Showcase at Lakeview Arena on Friday night.

With their fourth straight loss, the Redmen are 4-6 while the Blue Devils improved to 7-3-1.

Marquette head coach Doug Garrow said his team started strong before the offensive attack shut down once again.

“I thought we started out well our first couple of shifts,” he said. “We got that first goal and I thought maybe that would be the turning point. We’ve struggled to score and I thought maybe we were going to get three or four goals (today); we’ve averaged two and once again, we got two.”

Garrow added that there weren’t many positives.

“I’d have to watch the film back to see what we had for strong points,” he said. “It’s really hard when you lose four in a row to stay too positive. As a coach you’re always looking at what you can do better instead of what you do well. Tonight we just got beat.”

Sault Ste. Marie head coach John Ferroni said strong defense in front of the crease was key.

“We came in knowing we needed to match their energy tonight and I thought out kids did a really good job,” he said. “The difference in the game for us defensively was that I thought we did a good job in front of our own net clearing rebounds and not giving up the second or third chance.”

Marquette struck quickly after a slashing penalty sent Blue Devils sophomore defenseman Bazzil Moran to the box at the 44-second mark. Eight seconds later, Phillips found the top shelf from the right circle to put the Redmen up 1-0 less than a minute in.

The Soo got on the board at 10:48 after freshman forward Elijah Clow drove to the net and the puck came out to senior forward Aaron Bumbacco, who put it into the open net with Marquette senior goaltender Dylan Sibilsky out of position after Clow’s crash to the net. The score stood 1-1 after one.

Both teams had scoring chances in the second period. While the first half of the frame was uneventful without any goals or penalties, it was later in the period that Marquette senior forward Rory O’Connor was left all alone in front of Blue Devils’ junior goaltender Jack Pattison. Pattison stopped the O’Connor attempt, which led to a 2-on-1 the other way for the Soo.

That’s when sophomore forward Matthew Thurston passed across to junior forward Aiden Armstrong, who put it over the shoulder of Sibilsky to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead.

The Soo tacked on another goal late in the period on a down-low shot from Thurston over the short side of Sibilsky to give the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead going into the third.

Sibilsky was replaced by junior goaltender Tyler Bergwall to begin the third.

Marquette pulled within one after senior defenseman Aydin Frost backhanded a shot over the shoulder of Pattison with 4:11 left.

But the Redmen couldn’t complete the comeback, with the Soo getting one more from senior forward Drew Larsen on a 3-on-1 break to seal the result.

Shots on goal were 25-24 in favor of Marquette. Sibilsky stopped 15 of 18 shots through the first two periods while Bergwall stopped 5 of 6 in relief. Pattison stopped 23 of 25 for Sault Ste. Marie.

Marquette was 1 for 2 on the power play while Sault Ste. Marie was 0 for 3.

Both teams return to Lakeview this afternoon to finish play in the Marquette Showcase. Sault Ste. Marie faces Kingsford (6-2) at 1 p.m. before Marquette takes on Saline (8-0) at 3 p.m.

Email Ryan Spitza at sports@miningjournal. net.