Escanaba edges Negaunee
By JOHN VRANCIC
Escanaba Daily Press
WELLS — It wasn’t the start the Escanaba Eskymos hoped for Monday night, but they recovered in time to rally past the Negaunee Miners 6-5 in a Great Lakes Conference hockey game at the Hannahville Ice & Turf Complex.
Negaunee opened the scoring on a rebound by sophomore forward Noah Penrose two minutes, 13 seconds into the contest and gained a two-goal cushion on senior forward Ander Sorenson’s slapshot from the slot on a five-minute power play at 11:01.
“We didn’t start on time,” said Esky coach Matt Hughes. “Our effort wasn’t there. They beat us to the loose pucks and won more one-on-one battles than we did.”
Junior defenseman Grant Wickham got the Eskymos on the board 4:06 into the second stanza.
Freshman forward Karson Krutina tied the score with his first varsity goal on a power play at 7:30 and older brother Kyle Krutina sent Esky ahead 3-2 on a breakaway 51 seconds later.
“I think Escanaba turned up the pressure a little and we didn’t respond as well as we should,” said first-year Negaunee coach Dale Hopper. “Although, we played a real good game overall. We had a couple letdowns, but we brought some good speed and had a real good start to the game.”
The Miners tied the score at 3 on senior forward Chad Pohlman’s one-timer from the slot late in the second frame.
“We got going in the second period,” said Hughes. “Our intensity absolutely picked up. We had good momentum going, but giving up the tying goal was a bit of a letdown.”
Esky (2-1 overall and GLC) regained the lead on junior forward Devin Fisher’s first career goal, a one-timer from the slot at 2:58, and took a 5-3 advantage on sophomore forward Nick Kolich’s first high school goal from beyond the left faceoff circle 41 seconds later.
Sorenson brought the Miners within 5-4 on a power play before Kyle Krutina gave Esky a 6-4 lead on an empty net goal with 41 seconds remaining.
Pohlman concluded the scoring from the slot at the final buzzer.
“Overall, the guys responded well and kept going,” said Hopper. “They gave it 100 percent until the end.”
The Eskymos, who overcame two five-minute major penalties, outshot the Miners 29-13.
“We definitely had to overcome some adversity,” said Hughes. “We spent a lot of time in the box, yet we gave them only 13 shots. I guess we did something right.”
Esky freshman Bryce Buchbinder had eight saves in his varsity goaltending debut. Negaunee senior Nolan Corwin stopped 23 shots.
“This was a hard game for Bryce,” said Hughes. “I thought we could have helped him out a little more. Although, this was a good game to start his career. With this being a close game, he had to mentally stay in it. It’s hard for a goaltender to get into a rhythm when he faces just 13 shots.”
Esky resumes with two games at Sault Ste. Marie this weekend. Negaunee meets Bay Area Thunder Friday in the Petoskey Showcase.