WELLS - An early goal by L'Anse got Escanaba's attention Saturday, as the Eskymos then responded with nine unanswered goals for a 9-1 hockey triumph in the championship game of the 13th Annual Gil Versailles Memorial Invitational.
Senior Derek Meleen gave the Purple Hornets their lone tally with a slapshot from the left point on a power play just one minute, 39 seconds into the contest at the Wells Sports Complex.
"We probably had our worst start all season and they took advantage," said Esky coach Tim McCarthy. "That got their spirits up right away, and we had to think about what we were doing."
Paul Gerard photo
Escanaba’s Jake Eastin (6) hoists the championship trophy after the Eskymos won the Gil Versailles Memorial Invitational Saturday with a 9-1 victory over L’Anse. Looking on is Charlie Zuidema (15), Nick LeMire (35) and Nick Aird (14).
Esky junior Derek Chaillier tied the score with an unassisted goals on a power play at 6:41 and Levi Wunder sent the Eskymos ahead to stay with a wrap-around goal on another power play at 10:36.
Wunder then gave the Eskymos a two-goal cushion at 14:10, scoring his second of four goals from the slot. The sophomore forward also had two assists.
"Levi works real well with the other kids in his line," said McCarthy. "Everybody on our team is working hard."
L - Meleen (Lake on power play), 1:39
E - Chaillier (unassisted on power play), 6:41
E - Wunder (Eastin, Chaillier on power play), 10:36
E - Wunder (Vandermissen), 14:16
E - Vandermissen (Eastin, Wunder on power play), 4:28
E - Challier (Aird assist), 7:34
E - Wunder (Chaillier), 9:49
E - Wunder (Lyle, Vandermissen on power play), 12:40
E - Eastin (Wood, Pinar), 14:03
E - Aos (Wunder), 14:30
Power plays - Escanaba 4-7, L'Anse 1-5
Penalties - Escanaba 5-10, L'Anse 7-14
Shots on goal: Escanaba 29, L'Anse 8.
Esky (4-2) exploded for six more goals in the second period, ending the contest after 34 minutes by the mercy rule.
"It took us a little while, but the kids focused on what they needed to do," said McCarthy. "We played more as a team in the second period."
Senior Nick Vandermissen added Esky's third power play goal from the doorstep for a 4-1 advantage 4:28 into the second stanza.
Challier hit his second marker from the slot to make it 5-1 at 7:34. Wunder then added a pair of goals from the slot, including another on a power play. Senior Jake Eastin scored Esky's eighth goal and junior Dominic Aos hit his first varsity goal to finish the scoring.
"It was nice to see Dominic get his first goal," said McCarthy. "Everybody played and the kids had lot of fun."
Esky outshot the Purple Hornets 29-8, holding them to four shots on goal in each frame.
"They (Esky) are quick and relentless," said L'Anse coach Darrin Voskuhl. "Getting a goal right away helped, only couldn't match their speed. I thought we played hard. But we were chasing them and penalties killed us."
Esky junior goaltender Nick LeMire stopped seven shots and L'Anse senior Jason Rank sophomore Michael Turunen combined for 20 saves.
The Eskymos host Negaunee (1-6) Tuesday at 7 p.m. L'Anse faces Painesdale Jeffers on the road Monday.
In the consolation game, senior A.J. Bunce and sophomore Alex Ungerer hit two goals apiece and senior Luke Schoone collected five assists as Tomahawk, Wis. hammered Negaunee 8-1.
Sophomore Chad Larson scored for Negaunee, which missed a pair of shorthanded scoring chances and failed to convert on a 5-on-3 power play in the second period.
The Hatchets led 3-0 and 6-0 after the first two periods and outshot the Miners 39-17.