By Justin Haggerty

FRUITPORT TOWNSHIP – The Northville hockey team came to the west side of the state for the first time this year for games against Reeths-Puffer and Mona Shores.LSJ Logo incert

After beating R-P Friday night 8-2, the Mustangs visited Lakeshore Sports Centre on Saturday afternoon to face off against the Sailors.

Mona Shores forward Connor Edlund skates for the puck against No. 10 Samuel Bradley. Photo/Jason Goorman

Mona Shores forward Connor Edlund skates for the puck against No. 10 Samuel Bradley. Photo/Jason Goorman

Much like the Rockets, Mona Shores was not up to the task and Northville escaped Muskegon with a sweep for the weekend, beating the Sailors 5-3.

“It was a good game, we battled, it was a back-and-forth game,” said Mona Shores head coach Dan Quaine, whose team is now 2-6 on the season. “Against good teams, little mistakes cost you.”

Mona Shores got on the board first when Zach Tilden directed the puck through traffic and into the Northville goal, giving the Sailors a 1-0 lead.

The Sailors had a man advantage for four minutes following a Northville double-minor penalty midway through the first period. It seemed like a golden opportunity for Mona Shores to extend its lead.

But things didn’t work out that way. Northville’s Brendan Hicks stole the puck at the Mona Shores blue line and scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway at 10:46, leaving the game tied 1-1.

“Any time you give up a shorthanded, it hurts,” Quaine said. “Unforced error, a pass on the skate instead of on the tape and they’re gone.”

Undeterred by the bad break, Sailor junior Sawyer Jensen blasted a long shot that somehow found the back of the net just six seconds after Northville’s first two-minute penalty expired. Connor Edlund assisted on the goal that put the Sailors up 2-1.

Elijah Wilson skates with the puck along the boards against Northville's Zac Osaer. Photo/Jason Goorman

Elijah Wilson skates with the puck along the boards against Northville’s Zac Osaer. Photo/Jason Goorman

The lead did not last long. At 15:21 Mustang defenseman Shane Bryans won a race to the end board, popped out to the right of  Mona Shores goalie Anthony Shrum and slipped the puck past him.

Just 20 seconds later, Northville struck again with a goal from Riley Brass and Novi led 3-2 at the break.

“We’ve got to do a better job in the last five minutes, we’ve got to really tighten up and bear down. We’ve given up too many (late goals),” Quaine said. “We could have gone in at the end of the first with a 2-1 lead, instead we’re down 3-2.”

The second period started off sloppy, with both teams charged with penalties within the first 90 seconds.

That didn’t matter for Shores, though. Playing 4-on-4, Tilden made a slick centering pass along the goal line to Joel DeVoursney, who had no trouble one-timing the puck into the open side of the net. Hunter Meyers landed his second assist on the game-tying goal.

Just over three minutes later, at 6:38, Mustang forward Daniel McKee took a chance and attempted a sharp angle shot to the left of Shrum that banged off a post and into the back of the net.

Northville led 4-3 after two periods.

Both teams clamped down on their defense in the third, forcing many low-percentage opportunities.

Northville scored the only goal of the period at 8:03. Kyle Dann blasted a hard shot from the left wing that beat Shrum, earning his second point of the night and sealing the win for Novi.

The Sailors open up league play on Wednesday night at Lakeshore Sports Centre, hosting rival Reeths-Puffer at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s going to be a hard fought game,” Quaine said. “Both teams are going to be up for it, nobody’s gonna give an inch. It’s a good rivalry, I expect they’re going to come out strong and we’ve got to do the same.”