By Dave Tomczak
Local Sports Journal
MUSKEGON – Mona Shores kicked off the high school hockey playoff season with an early start at the L.C. Walker Arena Tuesday.
The 5:30 p.m. faceoff time had no ill effect on the Sailors, who scored five first period goals in a 9-1 over Petoskey in the Division 2 Pre-Regional.
“We wanted to come out and put pressure on them and see what would happen,” Sailers coach Pat Rabbitt said. “We didn’t anything about them so we wanted to take it slow and see what developed.”
What developed was Mona Shores scoring five times before Petoskey even got a shot on net.
The victory means the Sailors advance to face Reeths-Puffer at 7 p.m. Thursday at the L.C. in the Pre-Regional Final. Reeths-Puffer advanced with a thrilling 3-2 win over Traverse City Central in the late game. The Sailors and Rockets will be meeting for the third time in three weeks, with R-P winning the first two match-ups, 5-0 and 2-1.
After making the long trip south, the Norsemen never got going and struggled against the Sailors offensive attack. Petoskey couldn’t get the puck out of its own end until two minutes into the first and didn’t register a shot on goal until the 11:34 mark.
Meanwhile, the Sailors wasted little time lighting the lamp. CJ Meyers’ wrist shot from the blue line at the 2:09 mark put Shores up 1-0 and two minutes later, Colin Rabach scored the first of his three goals off an assist from Alec Sturr.
“We had some really good pressure and the goals were generated by getting the puck on net and getting some rebounds,” Rabbitt said. “We got scoring from all four lines and that’s good. All the guys have been playing well and deserve the ice time.”
Mona Shores, which finished the first period with a 12-4 shot advantage, increased its lead to five on goals by Sawyer Jensen, Sturr and Rabach. The Norsemen’s Ben Schwartzfisher recorded the teams first shot which resulted in a score.
While the Sailors didn’t score as much in the second period, they continued to put the pressure on Petoskey, with both goals coming on rebounds. The first came on Chandler Mancuso’s goal 2:27 into the period, and the last on Rabach’s third goal, with five minutes left in the period.
Connor Edlund and Sam Curran finished off the Shores scoring in the third period, with Curran’s goal at the 3:39 mark put the Sailors up by eight goals, bringing the contest to a finish early due to the mercy rule.
Mona Shores finished with a 26-12 shot advantage, with Tim McClain saving 11 shots and Johan Shafer, Cory Sander and Glen Kastelic picking up two assists apiece.