Hockey: Rios gets first shutout, power-play lifts Hancock over Kingsford 2-0
IRON MOUNTAIN — A power-play goal in the second period was enough to lift Hancock in a 2-0 win over Kingsford on Tuesday.
Phillip Rios also stood tall in Hancock’s net with 22 saves for his first career high school shutout.
Most of the game was back and forth with neither team settling into an offensive attack. The bulk of shots came fresh off zone entries, or occasional rebound chances.
“It was kind of back and forth. It wasn’t a ton of offensive zone time for either team tonight,” Kingsford head coach Dennis Murvich said. “It seemed like it was a flow game. A lot of end to end rushes. Not enough pucks to the net on their goalie.”
But Hancock (5-9) had just the time it needed to set up shop and score both of its goals.
Austin Salani took a pass across the slot from Petr Anderson and buried the puck in the back of the net with about six minutes remaining in the second for a power-play goal. Colton Salani also assisted.
Trevor Tchida added an insurance goal two minutes into the third on a pass from Austin Salani, also assisted by Bradley Randell.
The power-play goal was a welcome sight for Rouleau, who said his team had struggled to score on it recently.
“We had nice movement on the power-play there and we were able to get one. We had a couple of chances before that even,” Rouleau said. “We finally put one home — Austin Salani put one home. It was good movement on that. We had a good session in practice yesterday on the power play. It was nice to come through because we haven’t been scoring on it lately.”
Kingsford (6-7) had multiple scoring chances that included a shot off the post, a high shot that Rios lunged upward and fended off with his right shoulder and others that missed just wide of the goal.
After allowing eight goals against Brighton last week, Rios’ shutout was well earned, battling to see through screens and navigating scrums for a loose puck in front of the net.
Rios also held off a fierce Kingsford rally in the waning minutes of the third period, facing six Flivvers skaters with an empty net and a hailstorm of shots, some of which Bulldogs defenders stepped in front of to block.
“Against Brighton he let in eight. He had one of his worst games of the year that night. I thought he really stepped it up tonight. He tracked the puck a lot tonight,” Hancock head coach Dan Rouleau said. “He controlled his rebounds a lot better tonight. He left a lot of rebounds on Friday. I thought he did a much better job in controlling it. When the goaltender lets a bad one in the whole team gets down. On the other hand, when he makes a big save it brings the team up. He kept that lead for us in the third period tonight, mostly with his play.”
Kingsford pulled its goalie Trevor Anderson with about two minutes left in the game, then called a timeout with 1:11 remaining.
“We ran a set play off the faceoff and tried to get the puck to the net with bodies. We wanted to give the six guys a little blow before we did that, draw it up,” Murvich said of the timeout. “We won the faceoff, we just didn’t execute the play. I thought we had some glorious scoring opportunities — one or two in the first period, definitely one or two in the second period. To me, their goalie looked like he was struggling a little bit with his rebound control and finding pucks. We just couldn’t take advantage of it.”
Rouleau said Tchida’s goal early in the third relaxed the tension on the bench, as Kingsford pressured Hancock late in the second for the tying score.
“Everybody says ‘I don’t want that two-goal lead.’ Give me the two-goal lead otherwise it’s 1-1,” Rouleau said. “I have no problem with the two-goal lead. You’ve just gotta ramp it up a little bit more. You can’t get in a defensive mode with a two-goal lead. You want to have that third one which is even harder for them obviously. It was a good sigh of relief when we got that one.”
Anderson stopped 21 of 23 shots for Kingsford.
The Flivvers had lost both games in the Saginaw Showcase last weekend, after taking two wins the weekend before in Marquette. Murvich said the team had two practices in the past two weeks and need time to work on things before traveling to Traverse City this weekend.
“We worked pretty hard at times tonight. We need some practices. We’ve been playing games for two solid weeks,” Murvich said. “Unfortunate we didn’t have practice Monday night due to the inclement weather. All events at the high school were canceled. We didn’t have a chance to clean any of the stuff up from last weekend. Now we’ve got one practice to try to get things straightened out for Traverse City. Hopefully we can do that.”
Kingsford: At Traverse City Showcase, facing Macomb Dakota on Friday night and Lake Orion on Saturday.
Hancock: At Houghton on Monday night.
Hancock 0 1 1 — 2
Kingsford 0 0 0 — 0
First Period — None. Penalties — Bradley Randell, HHS, (high-sticking), 11:39.
Second Period — 1, Hancock, A. Salani (P. Anderson, C. Salani), 11:37 (pp). Penalties — Michaud, KHS, (interference), 11:06.
Third Period — 2, Hancock, Tchida, (A. Salani, Bradley Randell), 1:59. Penalties — Bociek, KHS, (roughing), 3:10.
Shots on Goal — Hancock 10-7-6–23. Kingsford 7-6-9–22.
Power-play opportunities — Hancock 1 of 2; Kingsford 0 of 1
Goalies — Hancock, Rios (22 shots-22 saves). Kingsford, T. Anderson (23-21).