By Justin Haggerty
MUSKEGON – The Mona Shores hockey team is not in contention for a conference championship.
But the Sailors had an opportunity to knock rival Reeths-Puffer out of the O-K Conference Tier 1 title race on Wednesday – and gain a little revenge in the process – and took full advantage.
Mona Shores erupted for four goals in the second period to down the Rockets 6-1 at L.C. Walker Arena. The victory made up for the Sailors’ 4-3 loss to the Rockets earlier in the season.
Hunter Meyers led the Shores attack with two goals while Spencer Anderson had a goal and two assists.
Mona Shores goalie Anthony Shrum turned in a great performance, stopping 38 of 39 Reeths-Puffer shots.
“The reality is, that just put the Tier 1 championship out of reach,” said Reeths-Puffer Coach Eric Sikkenga, whose team had a 39-30 shot advantage. “Three losses in the conference is going to be too much to overcome.”
“It’s always a tough game to play against Reeths-Puffer,” said Mona Shores Coach Dan Quaine. “It’s always good to come out on the top end of it. Last time they came out on top, but we got this one.”
Mona Shores opened the scoring at the 4:20 mark of the first period when Anderson received the puck low in the right circle and slammed it home, giving the Sailors a 1-0 lead. Jager Kelly earned the lone assist on the play.
The Sailors were charged with an interference penalty with 53 seconds remaining in the first period. That gave the Rockets a power play that stretched into the start of the second period, but it didn’t go as planned for Reeths-Puffer.
With just two seconds remaining in the penalty, Mona Shores’ Isaiah Bathrick lofted a shot past R-P goalie Colton Koopman for a shorthanded goal, giving the Sailors a 2-0 lead.
Anderson and Brandon Ledyard earned assists on the goal.
Less than four minutes later, Mona Shores freshman Justin Winegar stole the puck in the neutral zone, sped in alone on Koopman and put the puck over the netminder’s glove.
The Sailors collected two more goals in the period, with a breakaway tally from Meyers (with an assist by Nick Nawricki) and a goal by Ledyard (with an assist by Anderson) to take a commanding 5-0 lead.
The Rockets didn’t toss in the towel. Garrett Reames took a pass from Cole Charlesworth at the top of the circle and served it past a screened Shrum to put Reeths-Puffer on the board late in the second period.
Charlesworth and Nolan Convertini earned assists on the goal.
The Rockets found themselves in penalty trouble early in the third period, with three infractions in the first 8:13.
Meyers took advantage with a power play goal at the 8:26 mark to wrap up the Sailors’ scoring.
“All three lines contributed today,” Quaine said. “It was a complete team effort. Everyone really buckled down and played their positions and did their jobs.
“Shrum stood tall in net for us. In the last three games, he’s let in one goal. He’s really tracking the puck right now and playing big for us.”