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Alpena no match for Trojans, suffers blowout loss at home

News Photo by Jonny Zawacki Alpena’s Ben Nowak (6) and Traverse City Central’s Sam Gurthet (20) battle for control of a loose puck during the first period of a Big North Conference hockey game on Friday at Northern Lights Arena.

Undermanned and overwhelmed.

That’s exactly what the Alpena High hockey team was in Friday’s 9-1 home loss to Big North Conference rival Traverse City Central.

After suffering another disappointing conference loss earlier in the week, the Wildcats were once again shorthanded and welcomed a talented Trojans hockey team.

That recipe led to a disaster Friday as Central took advantage of Alpena’s numbers and showed why it will likely be among the top contenders in the BNC by skating all over the Wildcats.

What resulted was a one-sided contest in which the Trojans outshot Alpena 37-5.

“We gave them gifts all night and you just can’t give gifts to good teams and we fell behind early and couldn’t recover,” Alpena head coach Chris Limback said. “We need to get moving our feet and stop playing so nice. We’re banged up right now. We may get some kids back in the future. The loss doesn’t bother me, but losing another player does and it’s really unfortunate.”

Central peppered Wildcat goaltender Collin Lightfoot all game and the Trojans wasted no time lighting the lamp.

Central controlled the game from start to finish and opened the scoring four and a half minutes into the game when Hunter Folgmann scored on the power play.

The Trojans added a second goal with 6:46 left in the first when a shot from Nathan Weber deflected off an Alpena body and past Lightfoot.

The floodgates were open after the ensuing faceoff when Carson Peters skated in all alone on a breakaway and found the back of the net 12 seconds later to extend the Central lead.

Alpena’s lone goal came 20 seconds after the Trojans took a three goal lead when Anden Marceau intercepted a pass in front of the Central net and went top shelf over Trojan goalie Grant Neuhardt’s shoulder.

Less than two minutes later, Central regained its three-goal lead on another shot from the blue line that was redirected into the back of the net off the stick of Koen Burkholder.

The Trojans took a comfortable lead into the first intermission after a dominant first period.

“Tonight wasn’t a game to burn everyone out. Everyone got a lot of playing time and some kids are seeing their first action so tonight was a real eye-opener for some of the kids as they saw how fast high school hockey is,” Limback said.

Central continued the onslaught with three second-period goals, including a pair of goals from Will Dawson.

The Trojans capped off a near perfect game with a shorthanded goal to midway through the third period and put the game away with 4:25 to play with a goal from Shea Harmeson to end the game via mercy.

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Wildcats as they are back in action today. They’ll look to get the monkey off their back and get that first win and they’ll have two chances to do it.

They play an unusual hockey doubleheader today when they host Petoskey at 1 p.m. and the Bay City Wolves at 6 p.m.

“It’s been tough coming off those two games a week ago that we should have won and now we’re struggling a bit so we just have to try and keep our spirits up and do what we can to get that first win and build some confidence.” Limback said.

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