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Third period rally sends Alpena past Marquette to quarterfinals

News Photo by Owen Kinzey Members of the Alpena High School hockey team are pictured with a Division 2 regional championship trophy after the Wildcats rallied to beat Marquette 4-3 in a regional final at Northern Lights Arena on Wednesday. The Wildcats won their third straight regional title and now advance to a quarterfinal on Saturday in Gaylord.

ALPENA — In its toughest matchup of the season, the Alpena High School hockey team pulled off its biggest win of the year in thrilling and incredible fashion.

Anden Marceau scored with 30.9 seconds left and the Wildcats (24-3) pulled off an improbable comeback to beat Marquette 4-3 in a Division 2 regional final on Wednesday at Northern Lights Arena.

With this win, the Wildcats set a new program record for most wins in a season.

Alpena not only set a new record of wins Wednesday, but also won a regional title for the third straight year.

“Against a team as good as Marquette, I was extremely happy with how we played for all three periods. Even though we allowed three goals, I thought our defense was amazing and (Aidan) Schultz was great in the net as always. Overall, this win was amazing but we’re still not finished,” Alpena coach Ben Henry said.

News Photo by James Andersen Alpena’s Cam Young (19) tussles with Marquette’s Jace Moore in front of the Marquette net during the first period of a Division 2 regional final at Northern Lights Arena on Wednesday. Young scored twice as Alpena rallied to beat the Redmen 4-3.

Down a goal going into the final period, Alpena had plenty of time to make a comeback, but Marquette wasn’t done scoring. A goal from Jake Garrow extended the Redmen’s lead to 3-1 with just over 12 minutes remaining.

After that goal, the game belonged to Alpena, which pulled off the latest dramatic comeback in a playoff rivalry full of them. The Wildcats connected three times on the power-play in the final five minutes and advance to play Saginaw Heritage in a quarterfinal on Saturday in Gaylord.

With 4:44 left in the game, Alpena cut the lead to 3-2 with a goal from Cam Young with Harrison Kaszubowski earning the assist.

With 1:30 left in the game, Alpena miraculously tied up the game with another goal from Young, who now has five goals this postseason.

This time, Young’s goal was assisted by a great pass from Ian Lightfoot and Kazubowski.

Both of those goals were scored on a power play, which the Wildcats capitalized on successfully, especially after Marquette was called for a pair of slashing penalties in the final 2:41.

Now that Alpena had all of the momentum and the crowd behind it, the final goal was scored almost immediately.

With just 30.9 seconds left, Marceau shot the puck right into the net for his second goal of the night to seal Alpena’s comeback win.

“That feeling was incredible and I’ve never heard a place so loud in my life, especially at a high school hockey game. What we did tonight was unbelievable and I’m so happy to win the district title, but our eyes are on the states now,” Henry said.

The game started off slow with great saves coming from both goalies — Alpena’s Aidan Schultz and Marquette’s Cole Kelly.

It wasn’t until 8:05 in the first period that Alpena got on the scoresheet.

Marceau started the game off with a stunning goal that was assisted by Lightfoot. Not only did The hometown crowd erupted, giving Alpena early momentum as well as the early lead.

With just under five minutes left in the period, Schultz was 1-on-1 in the goal against Joe DeMattia and stepped up to make an outstanding save to knock off DeMattia’s shot.

A couple of minutes later — with 2:34 left in the period — DeMattia got his revenge with an unassisted goal which tied the game up at 1-1.

Going into the second period with the game tied, Marquette took the lead early in the middle frame with an unassisted goal that was placed in a great spot by Caleb Beerman to give the Redmen the 2-1 lead.

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