Chemistry loses close to heritage

Saturday’s non-conference showdown between Midland High and eternal power Saginaw Heritage meant nothing to the standings of the Saginaw Valley Hockey League. But the intensity, emotion and high level of play resulted in what Chemics coach Steve Witt accurately summed up as an “excellent” game anyway.

The Hawks caught up twice from a one-goal deficit and scored three times in the second period en route to beat MHS 5-3 in an entertaining early season battle in front of a large two-party crowd at Midland Civic Arena.

“It was a great hockey game. If you’re a fan you came and saw 51 minutes of fast, tough, skilled and gritty hockey, ”enthused Witt, whose Chemics fell to 3-1-1 after suffering his first loss.

“… They have skills and we have courage, so you’ve seen two different types of hockey. You’re going to make mistakes in any game, and they capitalized on some of us, and we capitalized on some of theirs, ”he added. “Overall it was an intense, well played and well played hockey game.

Heritage got off to a good start, dominating the game in the opening minutes and winning back-to-back power plays in quick succession. But the Chemics were able to eliminate both penalties, while Midland goalkeeper Aiden O’Malley made five saves in the game’s opening five and a half minutes.

Just moments after killing the second penalty, MHS entered the table. As the teams played 4v4, Midland’s Cole Carpenter drew the defender to himself on a reckless run, then slipped the puck to Tommy Kroll, who beat Heritage goalie Nolan Gotham down the slot to a 1-0 lead.

Just 42 seconds later, however, the Hawks equalized when Owen Turner punched traffic and beat O’Malley high on the glove side on the power play.

As time elapsed in the period, Midland regained the advantage. Matthew Witt recovered a loose puck after a nice forward failure behind Heritage’s net by Ben Haney, skated hard to the crease and wrapped a shot around the right post past Gotham at 4:21 p.m. of the period, sending the Chemics in. the break with a 2-1 edge.

Just over two minutes into the second period, the Hawks tied again. This time, a shot from Heritage deflected from a Midland defender, and Alec Mellon was there to grab the rebound and slide it past O’Malley at close range to make it 2-2.

Only 2:27 later, Heritage took their first lead, as Evan Gohm passed a few defenders and flipped a wrist backhand into the top of the net at full speed for a 3-2 advantage.

At 6:56 of the period, however, the Chemics responded with Witt’s second goal of the contest. Haney made a nice pass into the neutral zone that split a pair of defenders and ended up right on Witt’s stick. Witt skated in the Hawks’ zone and landed a wrist shot past Gotham to tie the score at 3-3.

Heritage scored what would turn out to be the game-winner with another power-play goal at 11:45 of the period. In a 2-on-1 run, Joseph Camp centered the puck on Nolan Drapp, who slid it past O’Malley at close range, giving the Hawks a 4-3 lead they would hold onto until second. intermission.

In a relatively uneventful third period for the most part, Heritage managed to kill a 5-to-3 power play late in the period, then topped the scoring on an empty Drapp net with 43 seconds left.

“That’s why we’re scheduling these games – during those 51 minutes to see where we’re at. They have one of the strongest programs in the state in the past eight to ten years, ”Steve Witt said of Heritage. “You want to win, but we definitely got a lot of positives out of this game.

“… It sets us up for a pretty intense Valley game (later in the season),” he added. “… (This defeat) is going to burn some of these kids for a while, and it’s going to be fun Play.”

Camp had two assists for Heritage, while Gohm, Turner, Mason Cole, Preston Douglas and Carsyn Marshall each had one assist.

Haney collected two assists for the Chemics, while Carpenter and Jed Brown each added one.

Both keepers were strong in net, Gotham making 27 saves and O’Malley making 20, including a few tough ones. Midland finished with a 30-27 lead in shots on goal.

When asked if he thinks his team are still flying under the radar after a good start to the season or if the Chemics might get attention, Steve Witt responded with a smile: “We prefer the under-the- radar (role). “

“We will continue to improve in every practice, in every game, and we will eventually make a name for ourselves with the way we play, with who we play,” he added.

Midland will travel to Bay City to face Wolves in an SVL game on Wednesday at 7pm.

Catherine J. Martinez