Last-second heroics

Redmen snap losing streak with rousing comeback that needs almost all of overtime

Saline’s Aaron Bumbacco, left, faces off with Marquette’s Sterling Wright during the Marquette Showcase Saturday afternoon, Dec. 30, 2017, at Lakeview Arena in Marquette. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)


Journal Sports Writer

MARQUETTE — The fans that braved the winter weather and made their way to Lakeview Arena on Saturday were treated to an instant classic at the Marquette Showcase.

Down 3-0 to downstate Saline early in the third period, the Marquette Senior High School hockey team climbed all the way back to win 4-3 in dramatic fashion on an Aydin Frost power play goal with 1.8 seconds remaining in overtime.

The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Redmen (5-6) as the Hornets (8-1) were handed their first loss of the season.

Marquette head coach Doug Garrow said the slow start to the game was due to the same mistakes his team has made all season.

“We made a couple of mistakes in the second (period) that we made all year and it cost us,” he said. “I thought we played pretty good throughout the whole game, I wasn’t disappointed at all with our effort, I thought we played hard.

“Just a couple of mistakes, but that’s what happens when you play a good hockey team, they end up in the back of your net.”

Asked what changed to lead to the comeback victory, Garrow said wearing out Saline and getting pucks to the net was key.

“They basically did what we’ve been asking them to do all year,” he said. “I said after the second period ‘All I want you to concentrate on is to get pucks deep, play below the goal line and play against their defense. Play physical, finish checks and get pucks to the goal line. If they’re going to beat us, make them come 200 feet down the ice.’

“And that’s what we did and we really turned the tide on them and the momentum changed.”

The puck didn’t find the back of the net until 10:35 into the second period when Hornets senior forward Alex Birkle beat MSHS junior goalie Tyler Bergwall after a neutral-zone turnover committed by the Redmen. Saline junior forward Logan Dejanovich assisted on the tally.

Almost six minutes later, with the teams playing 4 on 4, the Hornets stung again. Junior defenseman Brendan Murphy took a slap shot from the right point to beat Bergwall for a 2-0 lead.

Just 57 seconds into the third period, Saline made it 3-0 on a goal scored by junior forward Mikhail Lozovyy.

Looking as if the Redmen were all but finished, the game was actually far from decided.

About 5 1/2 minutes into the third, junior forward Tanner Phillips put the Redmen on the board with a power-play tally, putting the puck past Saline junior goaltender Cameron Crawford with an assist from senior captain and brother Joe Phillips and sophomore forward Gaetanno Cammarata.

Less than three minutes later, senior forward Ethan Jones took a slap shot from the left point that deflected off the glove of Crawford and into the net for another power-play goal, pulling the Redmen within 3-2.

Then with under four minutes to play, Tanner Phillips found senior defenseman Andrew Pieper on the right point, the latter taking a wrist shot that zipped past Crawford and into the net to tie the game.

Saline didn’t see many chances after the tying goal. With Marquette holding all of the momentum in the waning minutes, the Hornets were doing all they could to hang on. One play found Marquette junior forward Sean O’Connor on a breakaway that was saved by Crawford.

While the Hornets held on to get to overtime, the Redmen still retained their momentum into the extra period. Crawford and the Hornets were peppered with scoring chances, including a chance by MSHS junior forward Kobie Guidebeck who was left in front of the net all alone but couldn’t handle the puck to get a shot off.

With 1:17 left in the eight-minute sudden-death frame, Murphy was sent off for tripping, giving Marquette 77 seconds with a man advantage.

With the clock winding down close to zero and the Redmen attack set up in the Hornets’ zone, fans shouted to shoot the puck. Tanner Phillips passed to the left side to Frost, who fired a slap shot past Crawford to complete the dramatic comeback with 1.8 seconds remaining and ending 2017 on a high note.

Frost, a senior defenseman and alternate captain, said it was one of the more dramatic games he’s played in and said his team hopes to build off of the victory.

“It was pretty unbelievable,” he said. “We’ve been having a rough streak, so it’s good to get that off our backs and hopefully we go forward from here.

“I think we’re all really sick of losing and it’s been a long road. We’re just trying to start over and build on from here. Try to move forward.”

Tanner Phillips added two assists to his goal, while Birkle had a goal and assist for Saline.

Marquette held a 35-26 advantage in shots as Bergwall made 23 saves and Crawford 31.

The Redmen were 3 for 6 on the power play while Saline was 0 for 3.

Marquette hosts Negaunee on Thursday.

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