Flivvs fall in quarters
Forest Hills advances with 1-0 win
The Flivvers (19-8-1) were limited offensively by Forest Hills’ strong interior defense. The Bird Dogs (18-10-1) kept Kingsford outside of the slot and mostly kept the Flivvers to one quality shot a possession.
“A little nerve-wracking. We know how potent the Kingsford offense is and they’ve got some real dynamic players, not just (Daunte Fortner) and (Nick Murvich), but up and down their lineup,” Forest Hills head coach Tom Bissett said. “We were a little tense. We just wanted to buckle down and play solid when we got the puck and protect the front of the net – all of that basic hockey stuff. Our guys did a good job of it.”
Forest Hills’ lone goal came when it dumped the puck in and Kingsford goaltender Evan Hedtke went behind the net to settle it for a breakout. Forest Hills’ Tyler Kaminski won the race to the puck and slid it out in front of the net to Ludwig Tilly for the goal with 5:43 remaining.
“Some miscommunication between our goalie and our D-men. We can’t make that play. They capitalized on it. The one – the one – mistake we made all day,” Kingsford head coach Dennis Murvich said. “I thought our D were great today clearing pucks. We didn’t allow anybody in front of the net, open. We really limited their scoring opportunities. We made one mistake and they capitalized on it. When you get to this level of the playoffs, sometimes that’s the difference in the game.”
Bissett said the goal came at the tail end of a good shift.
“It was a guy who doesn’t score a ton of goals for us but a really hard worker and role player,” Bissett said of Tilly. “It was a situation where we got a good dump, got some pressure and the puck popped right out to him and he was able to bank it in. It was just one of those games, really tight, and it was one of those plays that was going to decide it.”
The Flivvers had a prime chance late in the third with a power-play and 2:08 left in the game. Essentially, Kingsford had the man-advantage for the rest of the game.
But the Flivvers took a penalty with 43.8 seconds left in the game. Daunte Fortner was sent to the box for a slash that came during a scuffle after the whistle.
“We had 2:08 and we called timeout to get our guys a break, get a breather and set it up. I thought we set it up great,” Murvich said. “We had quality chances from the right spots. We were planning on pulling Hedtke with 45 seconds left and had just pulled him and we had a penalty of our own. Then it’s tough because you’ve got to put him back in, the faceoff comes down to our end. That’s a tough way to lose.”
It was a frustrating loss for Kingsford after out-shooting the Bird Dogs. Kingsford had quality chances in the second and third periods, with the puck loose in front of the crease or a shot missing the open net.
“I’m absolutely so proud of our guys. I thought we out-played them in that game, for sure in the third period,” Murvich said. “The shots were 12-5 in that third period. We had a few past him that (Bogema) never saw, never knew where they were. I think looking back at the film tomorrow, we’ll say we could’ve scored two, three, four, five just as easily as we scored none. That’s the way it is.”
Forest Hills plays Hartland in the semifinals on Thursday at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth. Trenton plays Birmingham Brother Rice in the other semifinal.
The finality of the season struck some Kingsford players, who took their time leaving the ice, including some seniors whose playing careers had just come to a close. The Kingsford seniors include Ben Schroeder, CJ Dantes, TJ Burke, Pete Ropiak, Dempsey Lauridsen, Lee Hedtke, Nick Murvich and Sawyer Perpich.
But the team had experienced more than just a season-ending loss. Kingsford had faced tragedy in the past year following the deaths of two Kingsford High School students, Taylor Bosley and Jolene Treml. The team also dealt with the death of Ben Johnson, a Norway student at Northern Michigan who played for the KHS hockey team last year, and Bryan Stanchina, who drowned last June.
“We just talked a little bit. I just told them I couldn’t be more proud of a group of young men with the adversity that they’ve faced on and off the ice,” Murvich said. “They are a quality, quality group of young men and I couldn’t be more proud that they call me Coach.”
Forest Hills 0 1 0 – 1
Kingsford 0 0 0 – 0
FH – Ludwig Tilly (Tyler Kaminski), 5:43
Saves: Forest Hills (Bogema) 23, Kingsford (Hedtke) 18
Power-plays: Forest Hills 0-2, Kingsford 0-1
Penalties: Forest Hills 1/2:00, Kingsford 3/6:00