By Dave Tomczak
Local Sports Journal
HOLLAND – An opening season loss to Grand Rapids Christian was only a bump in the road according to Mona Shores hockey coach, Pat Rabbitt.
“I wasn’t really too worried about how that opener went,” Rabbitt said. “Win, lose, or whatever, it gets the kinks out and for a 9-1 loss, I was pleased with a lot of our play. We didn’t dwell on that at all.”
On Wednesday it was obvious that the Sailors didn’t let a poor opener bother them. Mona Shores put three goals on the scoreboard in the first period and skated past host Grand Haven, 4-1, at the Edge Ice Arena.
The Sailors (1-1, 1-0 OK Conference Tier I), netted their first goal when a scramble in front of the Buccaneers net resulted in Chandler Mancuso finding a loose puck at the foot of goalie Ryan Henning and knocking it in.
Mona Shores made it 2-0 later on in the first on a goal by Alec Sturr off a pass from Glen Kastelic, and Colin Rabach’s unassisted goal sent the Sailors to the first intermission up by three goals.
“The only thing I want out of (my team) is give the best that they are capable of giving,” Grand Haven coach Dan Gadbois said. “And tonight we didn’t do that in the first period, and if you don’t do that Shores will take advantage.”
The teams exchanged power-play opportunities in the second period without any damage done on either side.
The Bucs (1-2, 0-1) got on the board 2:07 into the third period, when Justin Vanderzwag’s shot bounced off goalie Tim McClain’s shoulder and rolled into the net.
But penalties throughout the middle of the third period put Grand Haven on the defensive and stalled its offense from cutting into the lead any further.
Finally, with 5:46 left in the game, Mona Shores’ Jonah Shafer finished off the scoring.
“We don’t have any superstars, just grinders who hopefully can put the puck in the back of the net,” Rabbitt said. “A big part of our game is hustle and with that comes the physical play and when we engage, that’s when we get opportunities. We’re not going to score a lot of pretty goals.”
Sturr, Tyler Diffell and Mancuso added assists for the Sailors, while Jake Steggles picked up the lone helper for the Bucs.
Mona Shores finished with a 36-11 shot advantage with McClain making 10 saves. Henning had 32 saves for Grand Haven.