Port Huron Northern’s momentum from winning the Larry Manz Memorial Thanksgiving Hockey Tournament didn’t last long.
On Thursday night, Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League opponent Brother Rice brought Northern back to earth with an 8-0 mercy-rule victory against the Huskies at McMorran Pavilion.
“They had some success last weekend, but this is living proof that there’s a lot more talent out there, and we have to get a lot better,” Northern coach Daryel McCarrel said. “That’s why we play in this league, because we don’t want a false sense of security, and sit here and say, ‘Hey, we’re really good’ and then we go meet a team like that and we’re not ready to play.
“My logic is, in the past few years, we’ve had these blowouts and the last three years in a row, we lost 3-2 in the semifinals or quarterfinals. So they aren’t rolling over us at the end. We’ll get better, and we’ll be better by then end of the year. But right now, it’s a hard pill to swallow.”
Rice built a 4-0 lead after one period, and stretched it to 7-0 after two, including a seventh goal that was scored with 3.5 seconds in the period following a Northern offensive-zone faceoff that took place with 11 seconds remaining. The Warriors — who are ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 2 — ended the game 59 seconds into the third period.
Nick Bowman had two goals for Rice, while Jack Dansbury, Dane Reinhart, Mitch Schults, Nick Rosa, Brendan Pyc and Alec DeLuca each had one. Daniel Sendek earned the shutout, stopping 22 shots, including a 2-on-0 Northern breakaway in the first period.
Andrew Adolph took the loss for the Huskies, stopping 19 shots.
“The first period was us, the coaching staff; we put kids in certain situations, we try to get everybody out in the beginning and it was just some bad luck,” McCarrel said. “It just seemed like every time we put out our younger guys, they were getting scored on — one bounces off a referee’s skate and it’s a slam dunk in the back. As a coach, that’s us putting out guys, hopefully getting through it and teaching them how to kill 30 seconds.
“The rest of it is, like anything else, when down 4-0 trying to make these guys come out and keep competing, then the veterans try to do too much and we get into that, instead of everybody doing their job, we over-commit and it just snowballs. And you’re playing a pretty good team out there, too.”
Northern returns to action Saturday at the Pavilion against Romeo. Puck drop is at 6:15 p.m.
“We want to compete all the time, and kind of win every period that we play,” McCarrel said. “I guess Romeo, it’s going to see how long we’re going to take to recover from this.”
Contact Paul Costanzo at (810) 989-6251 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PaulCostanzo.