By Greg Gielczyk
VICTORY TWP. — Offense wasn’t an issue for the Lakeshore Badgers co-op hockey team in Monday afternoon’s season opener against East Kentwood.
But the Badgers had other problems, including taking too many penalties which put East Kentwood on the man advantage too frequently for their penalty killing unit.
Another was having an inexperienced goalie in net as the last line of defense. Put it all together and the Badgers lost 11-5.
The game was played at the West Shore Ice Arena.
“Penalties got us in trouble,” said first-year Badgers head coach Parker Rey. “Our starting goalie is out with an injury, and we’re filling in.
“But, the kids played very, very well. I’m proud of them. We put up five goals and kept it a close game for the most part. Eventually, the penalties got out of hand.”
Lakeshore opened the scoring on a goal by Mason County Central senior Austin Quillan, but would not have the lead again the rest of the night.
Kentwood responded to the Badgers goal with two unanswered tallies and led, 2-1.
But, the Badgers came right back, putting in the equalizer for a 2-2 tie.
The Badgers gave up another goal and fell behind, 3-2, but rallied to tie it one more time at 3-3 before the penalties got out of hand and Kentwood pushed ahead.
“For what it’s worth they scored a lot, but I think we had two or three shorties (short-handed goals) on them,” Rey said. “When it was 5-on-5 it was tough for them to touch us.
“Yes, penalties were an issue. But, we just have to maintain the discipline a little bit more, and keep doing the right things.”
Ludington sophomore Ansel Carroll was pressed into service as the Badgers goalie after regular starter Joey Castonia, also a sophomore from Ludington, was injured a week ago.
Castonia could miss up to eight weeks, depending on the severity of the injury.
It was the first time Carroll had played in goal since his youth hockey days, but he made several big saves.
“Really, it was entertaining to watch him in goal,” added Rey. “I have nothing but good things to say about how he played.”
Lukas Schade, a freshman from Mason County Central, paced the Badgers with 2 goals while Mason County Central senior Austin Quillan, Mason County Eastern sophomores Drake McKay and Brandon Austin (unassisted) and Ludington sophomore JT Szoboszlay each scored 1.
Manistee Catholic freshman Nathaniel Barnett and Austin each had 2 assists, while Manistee junior Gavin Rhodea contributed 1 assist.
The Badgers were scheduled to play Southgate Anderson at West Shore on Saturday, but the game has been moved to Cadillac. First puck drop is scheduled for noon.