By Dave Tomczak
MUSKEGON – Mona Shores hockey coach Chris Benedict doesn’t like his team’s slow starts, but he’s happy to take what often comes after.
The Sailors trailed by a goal after the first period on Friday, then scored twice on the power play and generated plenty of offense to rally for a 3-2 non-conference win over Father Gabriel Richard Greenhill at Lakeshore Sports Centre.
Scotty Cotner scored twice for Mona Shores, which improved its season record to 10-6 with the victory.
The Irish came out firing, outshooting the Saliors 11-3 in the first period and taking a 1-0 lead on Sean Babcock’s goal 6:08 into the game.
“We came out slow and they won the battles,” Benedict said. “But that’s kind of been our M.O. this year, start slow and then turn it on.”
After killing off an Irish power play to start the second period, Mona Shores responded with a goal on its first power play.
The Sailors’ Jacob Leibrandt settled the puck down at the blue line before firing a shot on goal, and Scotty Cotner found the rebound and knocked it in to tie the game at 1-1, 3:53 into the second period.
After allowing Gabriel Richard to break loose in the first period, Shores held the Irish to only two shots on goal in the second.
A cross-check call on the Irish with 13 seconds left in the second period set the Sailors up with a man advantage to begin the third.
Mona Shores made it pay off when Cotner again tucked a rebound into the net just 41 seconds into the period for a 2-1 lead.
“That’s what Scotty does, he’s a grinder,” Benedict said of the junior forward. “He’s not afraid to go to the dirty areas, to go to the front of the net.”
Mona Shores took a 3-1 lead just 40 seconds later when Connor Winegar picked a loose puck and snuck it in on the short side.
The Irish cut the lead down to 3-2 with 5:20 left when Jacek Koszycki picked up a loose puck in the Sailor zone and skated in alone and netted a backhand.
Two minutes later, Gabriel Richard’s Edwin Zishiri had a breakaway attempt, but was denied by Shores goalie TJ Habetler.
Habetler stopped 15 of the 17 shots he faced in the game.
“TJ was huge tonight,” Benedict added. “He did a great job when we had a couple of defensive breakdowns.”
Mona Shores finished with a 21-19 shot advantage.
The Sailors’ Dylan Dieselberg finished with two assists while Leibrandt and Cayden Mollema each had one assist.