Ice, snow & Thunder magic
Sunday, January 26, 2014 6:00 PM
MACKINAW CITY, Mich. - In between white-knuckle drives on slippery highways, the M&M high school hockey team beat the two top teams in the Great Lakes Hockey League this weekend.
On Saturday, the Thunder took over second place from the Soo Firehawks with a 3-0 win.
Carson Lovedale scored on Denin Bieberitz's assist for a first-period goal.
Midway through the third period, Colin Hass scored on assists by Gunther DeDamos and Brock Jersey. A couple of minutes later, Hass scored again on Jersey's assist.
Zak Giese made 26 saves to earn the shutout.
"Zak played a real strong game," Thunder coach Frank Best said. "Zak made a bunch of big saves. We played a very solid game. Our defensive zone coverage was very good."
After winning in Escanaba Friday, the Thunder was stuck in Manistique Friday night en route to Sault Ste. Marie due to road closures. After Saturday's win in the Soo, the Thunder headed over the Mackinac Bridge and rallied for a spectacular 4-3 win over Mackinaw City on Sunday.
Trailing 3-2 with a man in the penalty box, the Thunder got the tying goal from Carson Lovedale with 1:27 left. Luke Kraus assisted on the shorthanded goal.
Hass then scored the winner with 14.9 seconds remaining to knock off the first-place team.
"It was a wild goal-mouth scramble," according to Best.
The Thunder took the lead in the second period on a goal by DeDamos, and Hass earned an assist.
Mackinaw City scored two quick goals to lead 2-1, then added another goal for a 3-1 lead in the third period.
Hass scored on Brock Jersey's assist to cut the deficit.
Giese made 28 saves and the Thunder generated 31 shots on goal.
Mackinaw City leads the league with 21 points but has played all of its league games. The Thunder (14 points) has five league games remaining. Each win is worth two points and a tie is worth one point.
"The bottom line is we control our own destiny," Best said.
Hass scored nine goals this weekend and now has 30 goals on the season.
"He works hard, he skates hard," Best said. "He's got a lot of size and a lot of skill, and it's all coming together."
The Thunder (15-9-1 overall) played with extra motivation - its other goalie, 14-year-old Drew Christensen - has cancer and is fighting for his life at Children's Hospital in Milwaukee.
While their thoughts and prayers are with their teammate, the Thunder players are slowly but surely gaining confidence.
Last year, the Thunder outscored teams with a high-octane offense, This year's team needs to outwork opponents to win.
"I think they're starting to believe that they can play with a good team," Best said. "With this team I think a lot of times its more mental than physical. We're just trying to convince them that they can do it. I think they're starting to believe that they can."