A virtuosic performance by Alpena goalie Jesse Boilore not only earned him Alpena's MVP in the first game of the Blue Line Tournament against Anchor Bay, but also helped set up a 2-1 win.
This win marks the first time a team under head coach Pete Doubek has won the first round of the Blue Line Tournament. It also sets up Doubek for his first Blue Line Tournament championship win.
"It was a great win for the kids tonight. They battled hard and overcame a lot of controversy in the game to pick up a huge win," Doubek said.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Alpena’s Jared Plume?(21) takes the puck down the ice in the first round of the Blue Line Tournament on Friday against Anchor?Bay. Alpena won 2-1 and plays in the championship game today at 3:00.
Boilore stopped 31 total shots. Anchor Bay's sole goal of the night came 11 minutes into the third period after Boilore was taken out of the game by the refs due to a mouth guard violation.
"They noticed I didn't have my mouth guard in so they took me out until the next shift. I didn't even realize that was a thing," Boilore said.
Anchor Bay's Austin Koleski power play goal pulled the Tars within tying distance of the Wildcats.
Boilore came in after the score, with a borrowed mouth guard, and stopped the rest of Anchor Bay's shots in the third to preserve Alpena's win.
Koleski's goal and overall offensive and defensive effort earned him the Anchor Bay MVP.
The first two periods were primarily a defensive battle. Both teams consistently shut down opponent scoring chances in the first, with neither team gaining much offensive momentum.
However, a power play goal by Jared Plume 14 minutes into the period gave Alpena a lead it held all night. Tars goalie Mitchell Day held off 20 shots for the night, including seven in the first period.
The second period was marked by increasingly physical play that resulted in a glut of penalty minutes for both teams. Alpena had four minor infractions for eight minutes of penalty time.
Its penalty kill was flawless beyond the one goal allowed at the end of the game.
Anchor Bay gave up six straight minutes of power play time to the Wildcats in the second, but its penalty kill was perfect in the second and third.
Things stayed tight in the second until Tait Froggett and Cole Cosbitt set up a Chris Modrzynski goal with 19 seconds left on the clock. Froggett passed to Cosbitt near the net who flipped it to Modrzynski.
Modrzynski then slipped it past Day, who stretched back to try to pull the puck away from the net. He couldn't stop it in time to prevent a 2-0 lead by the Wildcats.
"Cole Cosbitt doesn't normally play the penalty kill, but he did excellent tonight. Jared Plume also had a big night, but it was good to see such a balanced team effort from everybody," Doubek said.
The Tars outshot the Wildcats 17-11 in the second period.
The third period also was hard fought. Both Alpena and Anchor Bay ran into some penalty trouble five minutes in, but neither team converted a power play goal during this stretch.
After Koleski scored, Anchor Bay pressed the Wildcats hard defensively, limiting them to only three shots in the third. It even seemed to score with 20 seconds left, a goal that would have forced overtime.
However, the referees waved off the goal and Alpena tied up the puck for the last seconds of the game to preserve its win.
"It was huge, winning like this. A few of our guys are hurt right now and we came out to win this game for them. Right now, we got all the momentum in the world and we feel like we're on top of the pack to get the (Blue Line) trophy," Boilore said.
Alpena faces the winner of Friday's Shrine?Unified and Tri-Valley matchup in the championship game at 3 p.m. No results for this game were called in at press time.