The Chippewas finished the conference season 9-1, behind Ludington which earned the outright title with a 10-0 mark, which included a 4-0 win over Manistee.
“We kind of went in with a couple different things we wanted to look at,” Manistee head coach Brandon Prince said. “So (there) was a little bit of adjustments, and maybe some inconsistency at some spacings.
“But, it’s big picture, so we were just being patient with it, letting it fit in and just getting comfortable as a group with some of the different looks that we were trying.
“Once it started to click, you could see the way it was going to go. It was good to see that the adjustments started to settle in. Still not consistent enough, but that’s understandable with some new shapes and sequences.”
Manistee would take a 2-0 lead at the half, scoring its first goal 10 minutes into the game when Ethan Edmondson found the back of the net.
Then, with only a minute left in the first half, foreign exchange student Rafael Goncalves tallied to put the Chippewas up, 2-0 after the first 40 minutes.
“It could have been a little different, but we had guys who don’t normally get a lot of minutes get plenty of minutes,” Prince said. “It was good to see everybody get in and just do it as a team effort.
“We had a good opportunity to get 30 minutes under their belt of just constant play. We kind of went that route, got some of the other guys some breaks and just allow them to be on the bench, cheering the other guys on.”
Manistee struck quickly in the second half, Jacob Scharp burying a shot past Fremont keeper Ben Mellema, who would finish the game with 10 saves, just 30 seconds in to bump the Chippewas’ lead up to 3-0.
Jack O’Donnell and foreign exchange student Robin Yann also got into the scoring act for the Chippewas as Manistee out-shot the Packers, 17-4 on the night.
Luke Smith contributed two assists, while Luke Senters and Goncalves had one apiece.
Deagan Klimek spoiled Manistee keeper Grayson Prince’s chance for a shutout when he scored the Packers’ only goal with eight minutes remaining in the game.
Caleb Vissia relieved Mellema in net for the Packers late in the game and made three saves.
“Who knew a 9-1 conference record would get you second place?,” said Prince. “With Ludington in the group, you knew it was going to be that those kinds of numbers were not going to be enough.
“I think the team was highly competitive in the new conference. So, it’s something to grow on, and just kind of establish a little bit. But, we know from year to year it’s going to be different.
“Teams are going to strengthen, and we might have some growing pains. Being that first year it’s good to see a second place finish. It’s nothing to frown about.”
Manistee (14-3) will take a few days off to enjoy the remainder of homecoming week festivities before returning to work next Monday to being preparations for the Division 3 district tournament at Hart starting Monday, Oct. 17.
But, although Hart is the tournament host, Manistee is scheduled to play a first-round game at Chippewa Field.
Fremont dropped to 4-13-1 and 1-10 in the conference.
Fremont is back in action tonight (Thursday) as they travel to Grand Rapids Covenant Christian.