Gaylord shocks Esky icers in OT
WELLS — The Gaylord Blue Devils didn’t pull a rabbit out of a hat Friday night, although it may have seemed like it to the Escanaba Eskymos.
Gaylord scored twice in the final 18 seconds of regulation and again in overtime for a stunning 5-4 hockey victory at the Hannahville Ice & Turf Complex.
Sophomore forward Gabe Kleinsorge scored the game-winner from the slot on a power play four minutes, 21 seconds into the overtime.
“When you score two quick goals like that, you gain a lot of momentum going into overtime,” said Gaylord coach Tom Pratt. “I’m so proud of the guys and their effort. They never gave up even when they were down 4-2. We told the guys they had to get one goal at a time.”
The Blue Devils pulled within 4-3 on a slapshot from the slot by freshman Gunnar Buhr and tied the contest another shot from the slot by sophomore defenseman Sam Gomo with .6 second remaining in regulation.
“We got away from our game plan,” said Esky coach Matt Hughes. “We didn’t get the puck out of our zone and didn’t go after loose pucks. We got some good hits early in the game, but didn’t get physical in the end. We got lackadaiscal in our defensive zone and they took advantage of it.”
The Eskymos capitalized on a power play 6:53 into the third period when sophomore forward Garth Wickham gave them a 4-2 cushion from the doorstep.
Esky held that lead until the final 18 seconds when the Blue Devils stormed back from that deficit.
“We need to clean up our defensive zone,” said Hughes. “Our coverage was out of whack. We weren’t where we were supposed to be. We just need to put a full game together. We can’t afford to take shifts and periods off.”
Junior forward Christer Carne got Esky on the board on a rebound shot from the doorstep 2:46 into the contest.
The Eskymos then went up 2-0 on a one-timer from the slot by senior defenseman Hayden Haslow at 4:47.
Gaylord trimmed its deficit in half on a rebound shot by sophomore forward Connor Bradfield 1:56 into the second stanza. Senior forward Steven Salyers then tied the score from the doorstep 70 seconds later.
The Eskymos regained the lead on a breakaway by Carne 10:26 into the second.
“We didn’t play one of our better first periods,” said Pratt. “We played well early in the second period, then we sat back again. Escanaba is a gritty team and they’re physical. They never let up. They’re going to win some games this year.”
Esky finished with a 36-35 shots on goal edge. Gaylord, however, got the first eight shots in the third frame and outshot the Eskymos 20-7 through that period and overtime.
Senior goaltender Brodie Goddard stopped 30 shots for Esky. Junior Caleb Pettis recorded 31 saves for Gaylord.
Gaylord travels to Negaunee today and Esky visits the Miners Monday.
Gaylord 0 2 2 1 — 5
Escanaba 2 1 1 0 — 4
E — Carne (Wickham and Stannard), 2:46
E — Haslow (Krutina), 4:47
G — Bradfield (Samkowiak and Kleinsorge), 1:56
G — Salyers (Wieber), 3:06
E — Carne (LaMarche), 10:26
E — Wickham (Blaine Reinhard and Sliva), 6:53 (power play)
G — Buhr (Wieber), 16:42
G — Gomo (Samkowiak), 16:59
G — Kleinsorge (Samkowiak), 4:21 (power play)
Shots on goal: Escanaba 36, Gaylord 35
Goaltender saves: Escanaba (Goddard 30), Gaylord (Pettis 31).
Penalty minutes: Escanaba 6-12, Gaylord 6-12.