But the state tournament has been another story for the Vikings. As the old saying goes, if it weren’t for bad luck, they’d have no luck at all.
The Vikings’ season ended in heartbreaking fashion Wednesday when they fell 2-1 to Gladwin in an overtime shootout in the Division 3 regional tournament in Clare.
It was the third time in the past four years that Whitehall has been eliminated from the state tournament in a shootout,
“We outplayed them and outshot them,” said Whitehall Coach Bryan Mahan. “It’s the hardest thing. We played the game right, we just didn’t get the right bounces that worked for us. The bounces didn’t go our way and there you go.
“I don’t know what kind of a curse we have, but I would like to get rid of it right now.”
Whitehall lost despite outshooting Gladwin 15-6.
Gladwin took a 1-0 lead about five minutes into the game when Keagan Hover scored on a long shot that was misplayed by the Vikings.
Whitehall tied the score in the final minute before halftime on a goal by Daniel Dubois. The second half and two 10 minute overtime periods were scoreless.
“We put a lot of pressure on them in the second half, but their goalie played well and we couldn’t find the corners,” Mahan said. “They dropped a lot of guys back on defense. It was like trying to shoot through a pinball machine.”
The deadlock led to the overtime shootout, featuring five players from each team going one-on-one with the opposing goalkeeper.
Gladwin won the shootout 4-2 and advanced to the regional finals. Whitehall finished its season 17-8-1.
The season was hardly a washout for Whitehall. The Vikings won the West Michigan Conference championship for the eighth year in a row and a postseason district championship for the eighth time in 10 years.