Wildcats fall short
Alpena icers edged by Gabriel Richard at home
The Alpena High hockey team couldn’t get a bounce at the right time on Saturday.
Nathan Vazquez scored on a deflection with 8:16 left and Riverview Gabriel Richard skated by the Wildcats 2-1 on the second day of the Huron Shores Showcase at Northern Lights Arena.
Lars MacArthur batted a puck in to give the Wildcats (1-1) an early lead in the first period, but it proved to be the only score for Alpena, which outshot the Pioneers 29-16.
“I was happy. I saw a lot of nice things, some coachable moments out there, but overall it was a good test,” Alpena coach Chris Limback said. “It’s really what I wanted to see our young kids face today.”
Alpena had several chances in the third period, but couldn’t get on the board again. With about 12 minutes left, MacArthur nearly scored again on a rebound, but couldn’t put the puck in from the doorstep.
The Wildcats got a late power-play after the Pioneers were whistled for a major penalty with 1:55 left. Despite several quality shots on net and a brief 6-on-4 advantage after pulling their goaltender, the Wildcats couldn’t net the equalizer.
Gabriel Richard proved to be solid on the penalty kill and played aggressively throughout the game, even with a man down.
“The first 10 minutes there in the first period, I thought we were great. I thought we controlled it, but in the last seven minutes we stopped skating and allowed them to get back in it,” Limback said. “As the game went on, they got stronger and they did a nice job on the penalty kill.”
MacArthur scored on a rebound just shy of six minutes into the game when the puck when in off the shaft of his stick. Owen Limback and Charlie Halleck were credited with assists.
Gabriel Richard evened the game with 4.8 seconds left in the first period when Chance DeSana scored from just outside the left circle with a shot off the post.
Sophomore Jimmy Bolanowski got the start for Alpena in net and Cooper Black came in late in the third period. Together the duo finished with 14 saves.
“I thought he did a great job,” Limback said of Bolanowski. “We had a plan going in that we were going to split the goaltending last night and today. I thought both goaltenders played well and that’s obviously one area we have to be strong in.”
After defeating Grosse Pointe North 8-2 in Friday’s season opener, Limback was pleased with the Wildcats’ effort. They’ll have a busy week ahead with a home game against Sault Ste. Marie on Tuesday and road games at Cadillac and the Bay Reps (Traverse City) on Friday and Saturday.
“It’ll be a tough week for us, so we have to take care of our bodies and get ready,” Limback said.