Good defense is Thunder's best offense
Sunday, February 02, 2014 6:00 PM
MARINETTE - With good defense and goaltending and timely goal scoring, the M&M Thunder has put itself in prime position to win the Great Lakes Hockey League.
Mark Pulver of the M&M Thunder high school hockey team skates away from a Hancock player Saturday afternoon at the Civic Center.
On Saturday, the Thunder defeated the Soo Firehawks 2-1 and then beat Hancock 6-1. Sunday, the Thunder edged Hancock 4-3.
With three games left, the Thunder is three points behind Mackinaw City, which has played all of its league games. Each win is worth two points and a tie is one point.
"(Saturday) I thought we played really well," Thunder coach Frank Best said. "(Sunday) probably wasn't one of our best efforts, but when we needed to come through we did."
In the win over third-place Sault Ste. Marie, the Thunder took the leadoff at the 12:02 mark of the first period. Colin Hass scored on a Luke Kraus assist.
The Soo tied the game with two minutes left in the first period, then dominated much of the second period.
In the third period, the Thunder outscored the Firehawks 26-5. Easton Arsineau scored at the 15:23 mark.
"We came out with much more intensity in the third and carried the play," according to Best.
M&M goalie Zak Giese had 15 saves.
In Saturday's win over Hancock - a non-league game, Hass scored on Brock Jersey's assist at the 14:29 mark. Hass beat the goalie with a high wrist shot.
Hass scored the second goal unassisted. Late in the period, Denin Bieberitz scored with assists to Carson Lovedale and Andy Swanson.
In the second period, Gunther DeDamos scored on Bieberitz's assist.
In the third, senior defenseman Jake Swenson scored his first goal of the year on assists from Bieberitz and Swanson. Jersey assisted on another Hass goal.
Giese made 30 saves.
In Sunday's league game, Hancock came out strong. Hass scored twice in the first period - unassisted, and on assists from Bieberitz and Mark Pulver.
In the second period, Hass completed his hat trick with an assist from Jersey.
Hancock scored in the third period to pull within 3-2. Bieberitz scored with three minutes left on an assist from Arsineau, but the Bulldogs scored eight seconds later.
Hancock pulled its goalie in the final minute and kept the puck in the Thunder end but Giese closed the door.
Swanson, a senior defenseman, played a strong game, Best said.
Arsineau has also stepped up his game.
"He's working hard, he's getting in front of the net, he's getting the rebounds," Best said.
The Thunder is now 18-9-1.
"We try to use our forechecking and our defense to create offense," Best said. "When we try to open up, that's usually when we get into trouble."