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FNV Varsity Hockey falls to Midland High School 5-2

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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

7:15 PM

Freeland High School
Midland High School

Game Recap

Midland Daily News-Fred Kelly, Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Midland High€™s Luke Trombley and Liam Grady came up big on Wednesday night, and the Chemics needed them to.
Trombley, a senior defenseman, had two goals and three assists, while Grady, a junior goaltender, made 22 saves, including a handful at close range, to lead MHS to a 5-2 win over the visiting FNV Griffins in a non league hockey game which was more competitive than the final score suggested.
Chemics’ coach Steve Witt was pleased with his teams effort but not always with its execution.
‘The one thing I’ve said about this team all year is that they battle. … We had a discussion (recently) about getting our heads in the game and refining some things, and we were very successful over the weekend (in a 7-1 win over Grand Haven) with our fore check and moving the puck,’ said Witt, whose Chemics led only 3-2 after two periods Wednesday before pulling away in the third.
‘Today, we kind of got away from that a little bit, and (our guys) kind of saw the result,’ he added. ‘… (FNV) is super well-coached. I told (our guys) from the start that (FNV is) going to come after us. They’re not going to give up; their coach isn’t going to let them (give up). They’re going to have great systems, and that’s what we saw.’
The Griffins âre a co-op team consisting of players from Freeland, Saginaw Nouvel, and Valley Lutheran.  They generated a number of good scoring opportunities, particularly in the first period, but had trouble getting the puck past Grady.
And it was Midland which took the lead early, as Matthew Gross scored the first of his two goals only 1:23 into the game off of a rebound from an initial shot by Trombley to make it 1-0.
Only moments later, FNV’s Alec Kaleyta had two glorious chances to answer, both off of MHS turnovers in the Chemics end of the ice. Grady smothered Kaleyta’s shot on the first scoring opportunity, and then Kaleyta’s second shot ricocheted off the crossbar shortly afterward.
Midway through the period, the Griffins had two more great chances, but Grady made another save on a third shot by Kaleyta on a partial breakaway, and then Grady stuffed Sean Nowosatka at point-blank range moments later to keep FNV off the scoreboard.
‘Tonight, we had a couple of turnovers, and Liam (Grady) came up big early on,’ Witt noted. ‘That could’ve been the difference (in the game).’
Kaleyta and the Griffins finally got to Grady at 12:12 of the first period, as Kaleyta brought the puck up the left wing on another 2-on-1 break, drew Grady out of position, and then centered the puck to Adam Rivette, who chipped it into an open net to tie it at 1-1 heading into the first intermission.
The Chemics responded only 2:18 into the second period when FNV goalie Jordan Tafel lost track of the puck during a flourish in front of the net, and Gross slipped in undetected from the left side to pick up the loose puck and slip it into the corner of the net for a power-play goal and a 2-1 lead.
Two and a half minutes later, an FNV turnover resulted in a 2-on-1 break for Midland, and Dylan Sirrine centered the puck to Trombley, who one-timed it past Tafel for a shorthanded goal and a 3-1 advantage.
Midland continued to put pressure on the Griffins and generated a slew of quality scoring opportunities as the second period wore on. However, it was the Griffins who struck next.
Rivette brought the puck up hard on the left wing, and Grady stuffed his shot. But with Grady out of position, John Paul LaFevre gathered up the loose puck and flipped it into a wide-open net to cut the deficit to 3-2 late in the period.
Only seconds later, Kaleyta had another good shot on another partial breakaway for FNV, but Grady made the save to preserve the lead heading into the break.
Grady continued to stand tall early in the third, stopping all five shots on a Griffins power play. And then, midway through the period, with Midland on its own power play, Gross passed the puck from behind the net to Trombley, who rifled it past Tafel from the slot for a 4-2 edge.
Brendan Witt tacked on an insurance goal for the Chemics two minutes later, and FNV never threatened the rest of the way.
MHS outshot the Griffins 29-24 and had 43 scoring opportunities to FNV’s 23. Tafel had 24 saves in a losing effort.
Sirrine had three assists for the Chemics, while Gross and Greg Landis each added one assist for Midland.
For the Griffins, Nowosatka, Rivette, and Kaleyta each had one assist. FNV is back in action Friday evening in Kalamazoo, and then return home Saturday at 7 PM at Saginaw Bay Ice Arena against the Bay Area Thunder for Senior Night.

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