The final game of the North South Showcase in Traverse City featured a rematch of last year’s state playoff regional championship game as the Portage Central Mustangs faced the Traverse City Central Trojans.
Both teams had chances early and the game was played end to end with a lot of energy, but both goalies were equal to the task and the first period was a scoreless tie.
The first goal of the game was scored 5 minutes into the second period, when Traverse City defenseman Andrew Froese (#17) picked up a loose puck and raced down the left side boards. He fired a snapshot past the glove of Mustang goaltender, Alex Hufford, and into the top corner of the net. Traverse City kept the pressure on, but was unable to sneak another puck past Hufford.
The Mustangs tied the game with 7 minutes left in the third period. The Trojans had taken a penalty for cross-checking and the Mustangs pushed hard for the tying goal. Just a few seconds after the penalty expired, Max Mones and Davin Renda were able to feed the puck to Jack Sproule, who curled quickly towards the slot and fired the puck past the Trojan goaltender. The teams exchanged chances for the final 7 minutes, but they would need extra time to decide a winner.
In overtime, the Mustangs thought they had scored the game winning goal when the TCC goaltender couldn’t handle a Kobe Vincent shot from the point and Derek Hesse shot the loose puck into the open net, but the referee couldn’t see the loose puck from his position and blew the puck dead before it crossed the goal line.
Luckily for the Mustangs, the next goal would count. Portage Central’s Derek Hesse took a centering pass from Jack Sproule and backhanded the puck past Traverse City Central goalie Tolfree at 4:04 into overtime to capture the victory.
Portage Central goalie Alex Hufford made 41 saves on 42 shots while Traverse City Central goalie Jacob Tolfree ended with 26 saves on 28 shots.