A day where emotions run high. A day where one team advances and one does not. But for the five Bay City Wolves seniors and the eleven Flint Powers Chargers seniors, the opportunity of playing in one more game is simply special. It is the realization it might be their last time lacing up their skates next to their high school teammates.
Well, there was no indication that the Wolves came into Flint Iceland arena to surrender to the Chargers. Despite the one-sided game 8-1 on Dec. 7th, the Wolves brought in a different team it appeared. They were physical and relentless from puck drop to the end of regulation. The Charger squad was not concerned with who their opponent was but more so on finishing the regional finals strong, as they have reflected on the dagger they received from Midland Dow in triple overtime last year, who ran the table becoming the D3 state champions.
They say a playoff ice hockey environment is like nothing else. It was surely witnessed at Flint Iceland Wednesday evening, with a buzzing “Charger Nation” in full effect featuring an electric student section and a boisterous fan base.
Seniors Cooper Gerhardt and Mason Czarnecki connected early into the first period (14:21) as they have so many times throughout the years. Coop came cycling from behind the net laying off a dime to Czar out front beating netminder Nash Leonard. The Chargers continued to pressure but could not get anything more to drop until the 6:40 mark. This is when the speedster senior Michael Tucker started from his own blueline and went the length of ice, pulling Leonard left sliding the biscuit to the right of his leg pad into the back of the net. A quick start to the 2nd period yet again, originated by Gerhardt peeling out of the corner finding Nolan Berner near the back door who sniped Leonard short side. The Wolves were very feisty and continued to gnaw at the Charger’s ankles until they drew a little blood. The Chargers forward Greg Feamster continued his “strategic” disruptive behavior getting under the skin of the Wolves players. At 9:06 of the 3rd period, the Wolves capitalized on a misplayed possession by the Charger defenseman, cutting the lead to 3-1. Twenty seconds later, Tucker’s intense forechecking created a turnover landing the puck on his tape inside the Wolves zone. Tucker not only lit the lamp but ignited the crowd. With the Chargers holding a commanding lead with 1:03 remaining, junior Tom Lavoie grabbed the loose puck at center ice and backhanded it into the empty net. The Powers goaltender Nicholas Kurtiak picked up 25 saves assisting the Chargers with their second regional championship in the last three years.
Flint Powers will now head south to the Suburban ice arena in Macomb Saturday (3/5), with puck drop at 2:30pm to face-off against Detroit Country Day in the state quarterfinals.
Powers 5 Bay City 1