The Petoskey hockey team was just as good the second time around against Cadillac, as they downed the Vikings, 3-2, in Friday’s Big North meeting.
The win was Petoskey’s second of the year over the Vikings and second win overall in the Big North Conference.
Petoskey followed Friday’s win with another 3-2 win as they topped the Bay Area Reps.
The Northmen are now 10-7-0 overall, 6-1 in the Northern Michigan Hockey League and 2-3 in the Big North.
On Friday, three different players brought in goals for the Northmen, the first coming off the stick of senior Derek Smith, quickly followed by junior Ben Schwartzfisher and a final and eventual game-winning goal on a short-handed goal by Ken Forton.
The big story of the night, however, was the Northmen’s sweep of the Vikings, as Petoskey coach Brent Ward knows, wins, let alone two against the same team, don’t come easy in the Big North.
“It’s good to get two wins versus them, one down there, one up here,” Ward said. “Cadillac, usually they’re a pretty solid team. They skate hard, play smart hockey. Coach Graham over there usually puts a good team out on the ice.”
Cadillac struck first with their first goal coming barely two minutes into the contest on an unassisted shot by senior Tyler Thomas.
Petoskey didn’t waste any time, striking right back with a diving goal by Smith assisted by Tanner Davis.
The Northmen’s second goal of the night came following a face off in Cadillac’s end as Schwarzfisher put home a rebound off a shot from Kevin Hansen, putting Petoskey up 2-1 at the end of one.
“We came with a good first period,” Ward said, pleased with how the Northmen took the ice in the first. “We took it to them, had a lot of shots.”
The Northmen survived two shorthanded situations in the first, something they’d have to battle with throughout the night.
In the second period, Petoskey would need to survive another four minutes of shorthanded play, but were able to come out with a goal by Forton off a steal.
Petoskey goalie Breanna Merriam picked up the win in goal, coming up big in the second period with a number of key saves, seven in all in the period.
She’d finish the night with 17 saves.
“It usually takes her a shift or two before she gets settled in,” Ward said. “Then she played a pretty solid game for us. It’s nice to see.”
Cadillac, who fell to 6-8-1 overall and 0-4-1 in the Big North, would makes things interesting in the third, with an early goal by Thomas yet again, as he capitalized on a defensive breakdown by the Northmen.
“I thought we played a lot better game this time around, as compared to the first time,” Cadillac coach Scott Graham said. “There were a number of things they were better at in this game. They didn’t allow us to penetrate or get any second chance opportunities.”
“We just got to take it game by game right now.”
Cadillac goalie PJ Nemish, who finished with 21 saves, took the loss for the Vikings.
On Saturday in Traverse City, the Northmen scored three straight goals after the Reps took a 2-0 lead in the second period.
Travis Kirk opened the scoring for the Reps, 7-11 overall, in the first period before Trevor Apsey made it 2-0.
The Northmen answered midway through the second period as Smith scored with help from Ken Forton.
Four minutes later Forton tied the game on a breakaway off a Skye Pieffer feed.
Pieffer then sealed the win for the Northmen as he scored with four minutes, 38 seconds to play on a rebound off a Tanner Davis shot.
Michael Whittaker earned the win in goal for the Northmen as he turned aside 28 shots.
“They (Reps) came out and played a strong game for all three periods and we were flat early,” Ward said. “We battled back in the second and the third period was exciting. They had some opportunities, but Michael stood tall.”
The Northmen will face Cheboygan in a Northern Michigan Hockey League contest at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, at Griffin Arena.