MUSKEGON — Scoring four goals in the first period, Reeths-Puffer limited the Lakeshore Badgers co-op ice hockey team to six shots on goal in skating to a 5-0 victory in the MHSAA Division 2 regional quarterfinal on Wednesday night.
Reeths-Puffer coach felt the Rockets might have lost some of their focus after taking such a big early lead. But they refocused in the third period, and played much better hockey to keep the Badgers under wraps.
“At the end of the first period it was 4-0, and I think the boys lost focus a little bit,” said Reeths-Puffer coach Ryan Martin. “In the second period it started to turn into a little bit of a scramble, and maybe a little bit of the guys trying to do too much.
“Then in the third period we really focused on refocusing, and that served us a little better and we scored one more. Just much better puck moving, and much better hockey.”
Scoring goals for the Rockets were sophomore Croix Klint, senior Nick Fuller, senior Andrew Bouwman, sophomore Avery Freeland and senior Josh Schafer.
Reeths-Puffer senior Noah Voss and junior Isaiah Winters each contributed two assists while Schafer, sophomore Avery Wolfe-Sabo and Klint each had one.
Martin had junior Tanner Bonjernoor in net for the game, and he made around five saves on the night.
“When you get in a hole like we did in the first period, it’s hard to come back,” said Lakeshore coach Bill Shriver. “We were just flat early, unfortunately.
“They (the Rockets) played really well. They were very aggressive. They just had more jump to them than we did at the beginning.
“We played a really good second period, we had some chances. We just couldn’t get anything going. We took three or four penalties, and we killed every penalty.
“We just didn’t have enough offensive zone time. They kind of got us pinned in.”
Lakeshore, which was formerly the Manistee Chippewas, have never won a playoff game.
The Rockets improve to 6-17-1, and will next take on Mona Shores (21-4) in the regional semifinal on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.
Reeths-Puffer played the Sailors twice this season, and both times the game ended early with Mona Shores winning, 8-0.
“We know that they have three solid lines that they run, and a fourth line that can contribute at times,” Martin said. “It’s definitely not going to be an easy game. It’s going to be a challenge.
“But, last time we played was two months ago, and we’ve been playing our best hockey the last seven or eight games. So, we’re definitely looking forward to that challenge.”