ESCANABA Right out of the gate, the momentum was in the hands of the Hancock Bulldogs on Saturday. They had the lead, they were playing hard-nosed defense, and they had the Escanaba Eskymos frustrated.
The game looked like it was all but over, but Escanaba suddenly flipped the script and pulled out a 4-3 overtime victory.
The Bulldogs outshot the Eskymos 12-7 and they made themselves at home in the Escanaba zone most of the first period. Hancock (12-11) held a 2-1 lead heading into the second period, and they were controlling the pace.
Justin Marietti | Daily Press
Escanaba’s Levi Wunder attempts a shot against Hancock goalie William Lucier during the third period of their game, Saturday at Wells. Wunder scored the game winning goal in overtime to give the Eskymos a 4-3 victory.
Dylan Hanke was having a great game, contributing one goal and one assist in the first period for the Bulldogs.
There were plenty of power play opportunities both ways, but neither team was able to capitalize and the Bulldogs carried their one-goal lead into the final period of regulation.
However, No. 4 ranked Escanaba tied the game on a power play goal by Derek Chaillier that followed a face-off in the Hancock zone. The score was 2-2 and time was winding down in the third period when Hanke was called for a tripping penalty.
The Eskymos found themselves on the power play once again with a chance to win a game they'd struggled with from the start. But everything backfired when Hancock's Wade Hanke put in a short-handed goal to give his team a 3-2 lead. The wind had stopped blowing on Escanaba's sails.
"We played from behind most of the game, and the team was frustrated," said Escanaba coach Tim McCarthy. "We had a lot of adversity and we found ourselves in the box quite a bit, but we battled through it."
The Eskymos pulled their goalie as the final minute wound down. And with 27 seconds remaining in the game, Escanaba's Jake Eastin saved the game when he scored off of a rebound to force overtime. The Eskymos returned the favor, outshooting the Bulldogs 18-5 in the third.
"The biggest thing was, the kids just didn't give up," McCarthy added.
After a tripping penalty by the Eskymos' TJ Myrick, Hancock was on the power play. But they could not convert. After Escanaba got back to full strength, Levi Wunder went to the top shelf to score his 41st goal of the season and give his team the win.
"That's how the game goes," said Hancock coach Dan Rouleau. "They were able to capitalize. It's disappointing when you get scored on that late in the game. And then to come back in overtime with a nice shot like that just adds to it.
"My goalie played it well, it was just a perfect shot over his shoulder."
After the game, Wunder went to St. Francis Hospital to receive treatment for a laceration on his right leg.
Escanaba (20-3), which tied a school record Saturday with their 20th win Saturday, resumes Monday at Negaunee.
Hancock 2 0 1 0 3
Escanaba 1 0 2 1 4
Hancock D. Hanke (W. Hanke), 5:58
Hancock Lepisto (D. Hanke), 13:00
Escanaba Vandermissen (Myrick, Eastin), 9:39
Escanaba Chaillier (Vandermissen), 9:39 (PP)
Hancock W. Hanke (A. Hill), 13:40 (SH)
Escanaba Eastin (Wunder, Vandermissen), 16:33
Escanaba Wunder (Lyle), 5:42
Shots on goal: Hancock 30, Escanaba 45
Goalie saves: Hancock (Lucier) 41, Escanaba (LeMire) 27
Penalties: Hancock 6-12, Escanaba 6-12