It just wasn't the Alpena Street Cats' night in its match-up against the Traverse City Hounds on Friday as they gave up five goals in the second period to suffer a 6-0 shutout loss.
"I don't think we were that good defensively in our zone, until the third period," Alpena assistant coach Lori Seguin said.
It was a noticeably clean game, with very few penalty minutes picked up by either team. The Hounds had 10 minutes on five infractions while the Street Cats had only one infraction late in the third period.
News Photo by Eric Benac
Alpena’s Vladislav Khasanov (white) takes it up the ice as Nicholas Burton (blue, 11) of the Traverse City Hounds moves in during a game at the Northern Lights Arena on Friday. Alpena lost 6-0.
The Hounds (23-3) went into the second period up 1-0 after Josh Smith picked up a Bobby Schumacher assisted goal 5:54 into the game. The Street Cats (13-12) outshot the Hounds 14-6 in the first period, but Hounds goalie Bryce Goulah let nothing get past him.
Goulah had 25 saves on the night.
Alpena played the Hounds fairly evenly until the Hounds picked up their second goal off a Kenneth Simmons pass to Cam Fisher.
Fisher took his shot near Aleksandr Shishkin and snuck it in to give the Hounds a 2-0 lead 3:28 into the second period to open up a deluge of second period goals.
Shishkin had 21 saves.
Traverse City seemed to score at will over the rest of the period. Jacob Gillis put another one in the back of the net two minutes later to give the Hounds a 3-0 lead.
The Street Cats held off another score until 10 minutes into the period when Gillis tapped in a goal off a Garrett Cebalt pass to give Traverse City a 4-0 lead.
The Hounds' Patrick Rogowski scored five minutes later, picking up a short handed goal eight seconds after Cory Bussing got a two minute call for interference to help Traverse City pull ahead 5-0.
The Hounds' took a 6-0 lead off a Kevin Miloser goal off a Fisher pass with just under two minutes left in the second.
All of the Hounds goals were scored up close as the Street Cats struggled to shut down Traverse City's offensive attack.
It wasn't until the third period that the Street Cats defense picked up the pace. Alpena's offense started picking up solid scoring chances on Goulah, including a near open-net shot that didn't spin in the direction the Street Cats needed it to.
The Street Cats defense gave up 16 shots in the second period, but held the Hounds to five in the third. By comparison, Alpena had six shots in the second and five in the third.
Alpena's defensive burst in the third wasn't enough to overcome its offensive woes, but it did show signs of life that will be needed tonight when the Street Cats face the Hounds at the Centre Ice Arena in Traverse City at 7 p.m.
"(In our next game) we're going to be doing the same thing that we were doing in the third period in this game. We'll have much better support in the defensive zone and be trying to put more shots on the net," Seguin said.
Eric Benac can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.