Double-digit ‘Dawgs roll
HANCOCK – Behold the rejuvenating power of a little rest.
After more than a week off, Hancock came back and won at Kingsford Tuesday. After just getting the morning off thanks to a school cancellation, Hancock came out and handed Marquette a thumping Friday, finishing off the visitors 10-2 via goal-differential rule just 1:57 into the third period.
“Not having school was a big factor. We got some extra sleep and we just came to the rink ready to play today,” Hancock forward Brett Lepisto said. The junior forward had four goals and two assists, completing a hat trick within the space of one Marquette major penalty in the second period.
Having the man advantage has helped Hancock snap out of an offensive slump from the first half of the year. Six of the 10 Hancock tallies came on the power play.
“You’ve got to have puck movement on the power play, you’ve got to have guys moving to get open, moving their feet, just getting the rotations down. We got them down tonight and that was the difference,” Hancock coach Dan Rouleau said.
It is believed to be the first time Marquette, playing without five regulars due to injury, has ever been mercied by a U.P. opponent.
However, the visitors were on the board first, as McKinley Larson scored a power-play goal 5:49 in.
Just over a minute later, Marquette took its first penalty of the game and the shorthanded shenanigans began, as Alex Hill skated in from the right circle and went top-shelf over goalie Ethan Wiese’s shoulder.
Lepisto banged his first of the game in from in close to give Hancock the lead for good at the 12-minute mark.
Rebound goals were a theme for Lepisto and Marquette.
“The number one key was too many rebounds and also, we weren’t clearing out in front of the net. You can’t leave guys in front of the net to take three, four shots without being touched. That’s our major problem all year and it’s still our problem,” Marquette coach Mike L’Huillier said.
Hancock added to its lead on a top-corner snipe by Kyle Hauswirth just 30 seconds into the next period, but things turned particularly sour a minute later. Marquette’s Cam Verigan was dismissed for checking a Bulldog from behind in the offensive zone and Lepisto went to work.
He buried from close range at 3:03 and 5:33 (either side of a Hancock penalty). He then added a fourth just eight seconds after the hats thrown in his honor were picked off the ice, following a Dylan Hanke breakaway.
“I think we came together as a team more and our passing was really good tonight. We were going to the net hard and we were all over the ice together,” Lepisto said.
The hat trick is Lepisto’s second of the season and he’s doubled his goal total from six to 12 in this week’s games alone. He also had two assists.
Hunter Kero and Wade Hanke added to make a total seven Hancock goals in the second period.
“They moved the puck much quicker than us and they forechecked much quicker and when they had an opportunity, they’d put the puck in the net and we’d miss the net,” L’Huillier said.
Another Marquette penalty proved its ultimate demise, as Dylan Hanke fired in a slapper from the high slot to finish it at 1:57 of the third. Hanke had a playmaker already, while Jack Fenton notched four assists for Hancock.
Hancock got 10 saves on 12 shots from goalie Jacob Given. Wiese made 21 saves for Marquette.
The Bulldogs (5-7) haven’t got much chance for rest before their next game: a 1 p.m. matinee today against Fond du Lac, one of Wisconsin’s top teams.
“The Kingsford game and this game, the guys are wanting the puck more, and that’s what we were lacking. They want the puck now, and it’s going to be a good test for us because Fond du Lac is one of the best teams in Wisconsin. Hopefully we can come out with the same effort,” Rouleau said.