Bulldogs overcome early deficit, Flivvers

IRON MOUNTAIN – What began with a bang ended with bust for the Flivver hockey team Tuesday night at Mountain View Ice Arena.

Up 2-0 barely five minutes into the game, the Flivvers were 0-for-4 on the power play and wound up losing to Hancock 5-4 in Lake Superior Hockey Conference action.

“We worked hard on our power play,” Flivvers coach Jim Peterson said. “And we’re still trying to beat guys one-on-one. That’s what we can’t do. We have to have quicker puck movement, pull it over and the puck to the net and get a good shot.”

Hancock (4-7, 1-1) twice tied the game while on the man advantage, and made it a two-goal contest in the third immediately after breaking up the Flivvers final power play chance of the game.

“We haven’t been scoring a lot of goals this year, so to go down by two and come back was nice,” Hancock coach Dan Rouleau said. “With the young team we have, to accomplish something like this is going to make them better down the road.”

Brett Lepisto and Alex Hill each scored twice for Hancock. Hill put in the Bulldogs’ fifth tally just as his squad was returning to full strength after allowing Kingsford just one shot on net on the previous power play.

Ted Pietila stuffed in one more goal for Kingsford a couple of minutes later, but the Flivvers couldn’t rally again. Even pulling the goalie in the final minute was a challenge, as Hancock kept the action on the Flivver side of the ice.

“All phases we were pretty good, I thought,” Rouleau said. “Our power play was clicking, our defense played well. It was a good team effort.”

Kingsford jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead thanks to goals by Reid Pietila. Ted Pietila sent a pass out front from behind the net for the first marker at 3:41. The second goal came at 5:43.

But later in the frame, it was Hancock’s turn. Lepisto walked in on the left side and slid in the Bulldogs first tally at 12:01. Hill followed by blasting home a rebound into a wide open net on a power play at 13:48.

Kingsford regained the lead at 1:41 of the second period when Ted Pietila rushed in and wristed a shot over the left shoulder of Hancock netminder William Lucier. The goal sent Lucier to the bench in favor of Jacob Givens.

But at 5:18, Lepisto made it 3-3 with another power play goal, this one also coming on a uncontested swat of a rebound.

“We were not covering the high guy on the opposite side of the puck,” Peterson said. “We were there but not dropping down and helping out.”

In the third, Hancock grabbed the lead with a rip from Zach Ahola, who fired top shelf from in the slot at 4:46.

A check in the back of Marcus Andrews as he was approaching the net looking to tie put Kingsford on its final power play. The Flivvers used a timeout midway through the chance, but couldn’t convert.

Hancock broke up the Kingsford opportunity in the final seconds near the blue line and fought out of the neutral zone with the puck. Wade Hanke slid the puck over to Hill on the left side of the net, and he put it through.

Kingsford slipped to 3-6 (1-2), losing for the fourth time in five tries.

“It’s still a lot of the little stuff,” Peterson said. “We were giving their defense too much time to come out of the zone. We have to have a stronger forecheck on that.

“We were lucky to be up two goals early because they were out-hustling us. We have to start off strong. We can’t do it in spurts.”

The Flivvers travel to Marquette Thursday.

“Nobody is blowing us away,” Peterson said. “But we have to find a way to win here, stop the little mistakes and get more than one-line scoring.”