D3 hockey: Hancock powers past Cranbrook in OT, 2-1

D3 hockey: Hancock powers past Cranbrook in OT, 2-1

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D3 hockey: Hancock powers past Cranbrook in OT, 2-1

Preps!

Preps!

Hancock’s Alex Nordstrom hadn’t been born yet in 1999, the last year the Bulldogs won a hockey state title.

They are glad the young freshman finally came along.

Nordstrom is Hancock’s leading goal scorer this year, and perhaps his most important (31st) came Friday afternoon, with 1:09 remaining in overtime of the Division 3 state semifinals, giving Hancock a 2-1 win over defending champ Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood at Plymouth’s USA Hockey Arena. It gives Hancock its second chance since 1999 to win the whole thing in the Div. 3 final, Saturday at 2 p.m.

“His career is only going to go uphill,” said Hancock coach Dan Rouleau. “He exceeded our expectations.”

Goalie Dawson Kero was born in ’99, but said growing up he hadn’t heard that much from the local community about that championship team. “It was such a long time ago,” he said.

The two teams played about as even a game in regulation as possible, skating to a 1-1 tie with 25 shots on goal for Hancock to 27 for Cranbrook.

Both Hancock goals came on power plays, the first at 6:21 in the second period by Luke Rautio during a 5-on-3. Jack Fenton took a shot from beyond the circle that was originally stopped by goalie Stephen Friedland when it hit his left shoulder, but Rautio knocked in the loose puck.

Cranbrook was penalized again in overtime, for roughing and high sticking coming one minute apart. It created another 5-on-3 which the Cranes stopped, but Nordstrom’s goal came before the second penalty expired.

“They have a good power play, and if you give a team enough chances they’re eventually going to bury it, and when we had the power play we were unable to capitalize, so that was the difference in the game,” said Cranbrook coach Andy Weidenbach.

“When we left home for the quarterfinals and there were eight teams left, I told the guys any of these teams can beat us, and we can beat any of them and I knew it was going to be an even, nice, low-scoring close game,” Rouleau said.

“What a great opportunity in overtime to end it. You should score 5-on-3 most times. I thought when we didn’t score on it (in OT) we might lose a little bit of momentum, and the guys would get down a little bit; but they keep battling back.”

Cranbrook (19-10-1) out-shot Hancock (23-6) in overtime, 7-5.

“The strength of our team is our goaltending and our defense,” Rouleau said. “Our guys are so hard to beat one-on-one and they take a lot of pride in their in front-of-the-net play.”

Cranbrook’s goal came at 1:57 of the second by CJ Regula, unassisted.

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