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Mustangs Earn 2nd Place in Thanksgiving Tournament

By T Hufford, 12/06/19, 4:45PM EST

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Bulldogs Outshoot Mustangs 36-19

With Friday's win over Walled Lake Northern, the Portage Central Mustangs advanced to the championship game of the Chelsea Thanksgiving Tournament. They faced the Chelsea Bulldogs in this game as Chelsea qualified by beating Okemos 9-3 the night before.

Chelsea jumped on the Mustangs early, scoring 2 goals within the first 3 minutes of the game. The Mustangs were able to answer 5 minutes later with a powerplay goal. Justin Hayward battled in the corner and was able to push the puck along the boards to Ryan Jaros. Jaros picked the puck up and made a crisp pass to Hunter Maschke who was gliding into the slot. Maschke took the puck on his forehand and fired it past the outstretched goalie to put the Mustangs on the board. Chelsea answered back with 2 more goals to take a 4-1 after the first period.

The second period was more of the same as Chelsea stretched the score to 6-1 before the Mustangs were able to score again.

The Mustangs' second goal, a powerplay goal,  was set up by the hard work of Tyler Stolsky in front of the net. Even though he didn't earn a point on the play, he battled the Bulldog defender in front of the net, getting crosschecked, knocked to the ice and pushed from behind by the defenseman and the goalie. Tyler kept getting up and battling for that position. As Maschke and Anderson moved the puck around the outside of the zone, the goaltender decided to get in on the Stolsky-abuse, eventually earning a delayed penalty. As the goalie was pushing and knocking Stolsky over, the puck was work over to Hayward who fired it past the surprised goaltender. While the Bulldog goaltender complained to the referee about Stolsky, the Mustangs celebrated their goal.

The Mustangs pushed hard to get back in the game, but were not able to score again until late in the third period as Maschke stole the puck from a group of 3 Bulldogs, raced into the offensive zone, froze the goalie with a forehand fake and then tucked the puck behind him on the backhand.

Chelsea would add a late powerplay goal to win the game 7-3. Bryan Gracey finished the game with 29 saves on 36 shots.