LaMarch, Mylander Help Eskymos Hold Off Jeffers

Click the thumbnails to see photos and videos. Click the AUDIO buttons to hear player spotlight interviews with Dylan Ziemke and Kadon Hayes. Also hear post-game three star interviews with Jayger LaMarch, Ayden Mylander, and Spencer Bourdeau.

The Escanaba High School hockey team fell behind by two goals in the first period, but scored four times in the second period and then held off the Painesdale-Jeffers Jets at the end, 6-5, Wednesday night, at the Houghton County Arena.
Jayger LaMarch and Ayden Mylander both scored twice for the Eskymos as they won their fourth straight game after a 1-9 start against tough competition.

Nick Kolich and Karson Krutina also scored for the Eskymos, and Krutina had a second goal late in the game waived off after an Esky player was let out of the penalty box prematurely by the scorekeeper.

"We had a rough start, obvously, with them getting on the board six seconds into the game," Eskymo Coach Matt Hughes said. "But we battled back in the second period and our "blue line" with Sawyer, Jaggy, and Mylander, they had an excellent night from the second period on. They applied a lot of pressure and it ended up paying off for them."

The prettiest goal of the night was off the stick of LaMarch, who took the puck at center ice, sidestepped one man, went around another, skated in on goal, and tucked it past Jets goaltender Simon Rajala. That gave Escanaba a 5-3 lead five minutes into the third period.

LaMarch had scored the team's second goal in the second period to make it 4-2 at the time.

"First goal, I give it to Sawyer (his brother). He worked on the wall and gave it to me," LaMarch said. "Second goal, another creidt to Sawyer. He gave it to me out front and I made a couple moves, got around their last defender, and tucked on their goaltender. The last couple of games, it's been tough, I haven't been able to bury it. But my coaches and my linemates have really been helping me out and keeping me confident."

Jeffers scored off the opening faceoff as Cooper Burkman pushed one past a startled Eskymo goaltender Bryce Buchbinder. Then less than six minutes later, Caden Hillstrom put Jeffers ahead 2-0, and the Eskymos had to kill off two straight Jets power plays.

Finally, late in the first period, the Eskymos got a power play, and Karson Krutina connected off a Mylander assist with 29.1 seconds left in the period to get the Eskymos going.

Early in the second period, Mylander tied the game at 2-2 when he tipped in a Clayton Smith shot. Smith had two assists and Mylander, who also scored in the third period for what turned out to be the game-winning goal, had two goals and two assists.

"I thought we did pretty good," Mylander said. "We came out pretty slow, but our line has been scoring a lot of points and we've been doing good out there. As soon as Clayton shot it (on the first goal), I knew it was going in, and he had a nice shot and I had a nice tip. That was a big goal. It got us going."

Nathan Wakeham twice for the Jets (2-11), including one with 10:16 left in the third period that brought them to within 5-4. The Eskymos went ahead 6-4 on Mylander's second goal, but Wakeham scored his second goal with 2:39 left in the game to make it 6-5.

There were conicidental penalties that landed one player for each team in the penalty box. The scorekeeper allowed Kolich out of the box before he was supposed to be released, and nearly a full minute later, he set up a pretty goal after Spencer Bourdeau pased it to him while falling down. Kolich got it to Krutina who went to his backhand and roofed it.

That seemingly gave Escanaba a 7-5 lead with 1:15 left, but the referees conferred after Jeffers complained. After a long discussion with the scorekeeper, the mistake was relaized, but it was unfortunate for Escanaba as the goal was wiped off the board. Hughes was furious.

"They took it away because they said he (Kolich) wasn't supposed to be on the ice yet," Hughes said. "That's not our fault and it's not the kid's fault! It was a terrible thing  because it was a great goal and we would have went up two goals  I feel sorry for him (Krutina). But we battled through it and were able to come through with a W."

But the Eskymos killed off the final minute-plus to win a rough battle.

"It was a grind, all right," Eskymo assistant captain Spencer Bourdeau said. "They were in your face. They were slashing you, or hitting you in the head from behind. But, we had the intensity and we played through it."

Escanaba improved to 5-9 on the season and will be on a bus again Friday, this time to the eastern U.P. to face Sault Ste. Marie. Game time from Big Bear Arena is 7:00. It will be broadcast on WCHT-FM (93.5), AM-600, and

LISTEN: Jayger LaMarch #1 star interview
LISTEN: Ayden Mylander #2 star interview
LISTEN: Spencer Bourdeau #3 star interview
LISTEN: Kadon Hayes player spotlight interview
LISTEN: Dylan Ziemke player spotlight interview