Mona Shores hockey took time on Saturday afternoon to retire jersey No. 22 that was worn by their friend and teammate, the late Brennan Dethloff, who passed away in 2021.
The Sailor hockey program retired number 22 that was worn by Dethloff in a special pre-game ceremony which was also used to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and being good to others.
While the ceremony was touching for the Dethloffs and the Sailor hockey family, the game also had an impact from No. 22.
Mona Shores defeated Saline, 6-4, at Lakeshore Sports Centre in a game that either team could have won. But what might stick out to those who were present is what happened on the clock in the last remaining seconds.
Mona Shores was fighting off a Saline rush while holding on to a 5-4 lead. In the commotion, Saline was called for a penalty.
The costly infraction arrived with a serendipitous 22 seconds left in the game.
Mona Shores’ Eli Habetler then netted his second goal of the game, with 2.2 seconds remaining.
The 22 seconds and 2.2 seconds was definitely noticed by the Sailors.
“I feel like he was with us there,” said Mona Shores Coach Chris Benedict. “We scored a goal with 2.2 seconds on the clock and the last penalty they took was with 22 seconds.
“There were signs, we see them all the time. It’s stuff like that, just some crazy stuff. It’s really special. Guys were pointing it out on the bench. It was good, a really good day.”
Mona Shores fought off the visiting Hornets by making the first strike of the game. Nathan Tilden picked off a Saline pass at the Sailors’ blue line and went solo along the boards and took it to the house for a 1-0 lead.
Tilden added his second goal of the game three minutes later, giving Mona Shores a 2-1 lead. Habetler and Brady Tilden assisted on the play.
The second period turned disastrous for Mona Shores as the Sailors were called for a boarding penalty, resulting in a 5 minute power play for Saline. The Hornets did not let the opportunity go to waste, netting two goals before the end of the period for a 3-2 lead.
“We play hard and sometimes that’s going to go against us, but we have to be a little more disciplined with where we are hitting and how we are hitting,” said Benedict about the costly penalty. “But really good job for us to regroup and not let that dictate our night.”:
Saline continued its good fortunes in the third period as it took a 4-2 lead with 13 minutes left in the game.
Mona Shores didn’t respond until Zach Leibrandt found the back of the net with six minutes left. Zack Keessen and Cullen Conrad assisted on the goal as the Sailors were now down, 4-3.
Three minutes later, Habetler tallied his first goal of the day on a scrum in front of Saline’s net and a 4-4 tie. Ethan Ring was credited with the helper.
Keessen netted the game winning goal, lifting Mona Shores with 1:37 remaining on an assist from Ring.
Mona Shores goalie Braelin Hyrns posted the win. Hyrns set the tone early on for the Sailors, coming through with a big save on an early Saline breakaway.
“It was super emotional, we had probably 20 alumni who came back for this day, a lot of them I haven’t seen in a super long time,” said Benedict. “All of Brennan’s family was here, it was a special afternoon for us; we feel like he (Dethloff) was with us there.”
The Sailors are now 4-3 overall and will next hit the ice on December 15 when it travels to face Grand Rapids Catholic Central.