BUSY WEEK STARTS: Eskymos Roll Past Negaunee
Click the thumbnails to see photos and videos taken by Ben Sands, and to hear post-game comments from Anthony Potvin, Brody Lavesque, and Hunter Allen. Also hear comments from Coach Andy Johnson, and listen to Cale Carter's spotlight interview.
NEGAUNEE---The Escanaba High School hockey team opened a three-games-in-four nights stretch Tuesday night with a 9-1 win over the Negaunee Miners in Negaunee.
Graham Johnson had three goals and two assists to lead the way, and several Eskymo players who have played spraingly this season were able to get onto the ice for long stretches in this one.
Owen LaBonte and Carson Hughes added two goals apiece for the Eskymos, as they improved to 9-10-0 on the season heading into two home games Thursday against Painesdale-Jeffers, and Friday, against Shawano (Wis.). The Miners fell to 4-15-0 on the season, giving up nine goals each in a pair of home losses less than 24 hours apart.
Aydan Miles broke the shutout for Negaunee with a power play goal in the second period, but the Eskymos put the game away in the first 75 seconds of the third period.
They started the period on a 5-on-3 power play after a Negaunee player punched Johnson in the face as the teams headed to their dressing rooms for the second intermission.
Escanaba took advantage of that man-advantage with Cale Carter scoring just 16 seconds into the third period, and then Johnson got revenge for the punch by completing his hat trick 59 seconds later. Escanaba outshot Negaunee, 40-15.
One of Hughes' goals came just in a nick of time, as he raced up ice and beat Negaunee goaltender Patrick Klumpp with one-tenth of a second left in the first period, giving Escanaba a 5-0 lead.
The big first period lead allowed Escanaba Coach Andy Johnson to play three guys who have seen very little ice time this season: Hunter Allen, Brody Lavesque, and Anthony Potvin.
Their help was welcome, with three Eskymos out of the line-up, including two starters. Those three guys shared the team's "hard hat" award after the game, and they all received post-game radio interviews for the first time.
Nolan Bink also scored for the Eskymos in the first period.
The Escanaba-Jeffers game is set for Thursday night at 6:30, and the Escanaba-Shawano contest is scheduled for 7:00 Friday night. Both will be broadcast live on FM-93.5 and AM-600, and will be streamed on-line as well at www.rrnsports.com.
The Eskymos have six games left in the regular season before the MHSAA state playoffs start late in February.
Escanaba will likely be the third seed, and host sixth-seeded Negaunee in the first round of that six-team regional, with Kingsford likely to face Manistique in the 4-5 matchup, and Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie likely to get byes as the region's top two seeds.