A tie for Christmas

By JONNY ZAWACKI

News Sports Writer

TRAVERSE CITY – The Alpena High School hockey team played its second game in as many days on Wednesday at Howe Arena, this time they would do battle with conference rival Traverse City West.

After a tough loss on Tuesday where the Wildcats seemed like they were running out of energy, Alpena was able to keep its energy throughout the entire matchup with the Titans which ended in a 1-1 tie.

The Wildcats looked solid early on as they outshot Traverse City 12-6 in the opening period, but were unable to put the puck in the net.

Both teams went back and forth throughout the second period, but again both teams went into the second intermission in a scoreless tie.

Alpena was able to score the games first goal and took a one goal lead just under two minutes into the period when Evan LeTourneau scored a dandy of a goal, taking the puck right off the faceoff and beating Titans goaltender Brendan LaCharite.

The Wildcats ran into some trouble midway through the final period, and suffered a rash of penalties throughout the third and would end up costing them as Traverse City was able to tie the game at one goal apiece after Jacob Benker lit the lamp on an assist from Mark Alekseykov and Kyle Sitkins.

Both teams battled in the late stages of the third period as Alpena had a few chances to capitalize on a powerplay opportunity, but were unable to net the go ahead goal as regulation would end, sending both teams to an eight minute overtime period.

The Wildcats again had several chances throughout the overtime period to score, but were unable to cash in. Alpena’s defense held strong all night and the team a great effort from starting goalie Ben Matteson who stopped 30 of the 31 shots he faced.

“Ben played fantastic in net today and our team played three solid periods which I was very happy with. It would have been nice to come away with a win, but the energy on the bench was great and everyone was engaged and they really wanted it today,” Alpena coach Pete Doubek said

The Titans outshot Alpena 31-27 in what was evenly matched game that featured a lot of back and forth action with both teams having several chances to score, but both Matteson and LaCharite stood tall in the net, leading to the 1-1 final score.

“Our defense is getting more confident and they played extremely well today. We are starting to gain confidence as a team and there are always going to some ups and downs. In high school hockey there is always a lot to work on and we’ll continue to work on our defense, forecheck, penalty kill and ability to capitalize on the powerplay,” Doubek said.

The tie moves Alpena’s overall record to 7-3-1 and Big North Conference record to 2-1-1. The Wildcats will now have some time off as they finished the 2015 year with a winning record.