The Portage Central Mustangs headed north this past weekend to the annual North | South Showcase, held in Traverse City, Michigan. In addition to the two hockey games, the road trip was also the Father/Son Weekend, which is a PC hockey tradition.
The Father/Son Weekend or Dads and Lads trip has been a tradition for years. The dads or other folks that have had a significant impact in the player’s life are invited by the player to hang out with them for the weekend. The dads ride the bus with the player, sleep in the same hotel, eat at the team meals, and keep the same schedule as the rest of the team. There is also usually some kind of activity planned on Saturday - this year it was bowling or arcade time at Lucky Jacks in Traverse City. The trip is a great opportunity for the dads to connect with the players and to connect with the other dads while watching some good hockey games.
The Mustangs knew they were in for in two tough hockey games as both teams are ranked in the top 10 in their division in the State of Michigan. Friday’s opponent, Flint-Powers, is ranked #7 in the MHSAA Division 3 rankings and Saturday’s opponent, Rochester United, is ranked #6 in the MHSAA Division 1 rankings as reported on MiHockeyHub.com.
Friday Night - #7 Flint-Powers 7 at Portage Central 0
Flint Powers showed why they are ranked so high in the State of Michigan. They dominated play in the game, holding the Mustangs to only 5 shots in the first period and 4 shots in the second period. Bryan Gracey played hard in net for the Mustangs and made a number of very nice saves, but the onslaught by Flint Powers was too much. Flint outshot the Mustangs 15-5 in the first period and18-4 in the second to jump out to a 5-0 lead at the end of the second period.
In the third period, the Mustangs started to turn it around a little. PC was able to play a bit more in the offensive zone, putting 10 shots on goals, but they were not able to slip anything past the Flint Powers goalie and lost the game by a final score of 0-7. Flint Powers outshot PC 47-19 for the game.
Saturday Afternoon – Portage Central 1 at #6 Rochester United 9
The opponent did not get any easier for PC’s second game of the weekend. The Mustangs faced Rochester United, ranked #6 in the MHSAA Division 1 programs. Zach Hufford made his second start in goal this season and played well, but like Gracey on Friday night, the opponent was just too strong. The Mustangs were able to keep the game close through the first period, despite being outshot 20-2.
In the second period, the Mustangs finally got on the board as Konnor McLeod picked up a loose puck in the corner, then fired a pass to Jaden Sorenson who skated across the top of the slot and fired it past the United goaltender. Despite the goal, the Mustangs were outshot 18-3 is the second period, and trailed 1-5 entering the third.
Rochester United pulled away in the third period, scoring on defensive turnovers, a 3 on 0 breakaway and a few other tic-tac-goal plays. Rochester United scored the ninth goal with just 1:26 left to play to mercy the Mustangs. Rochester United ended the game with 50 shots on Hufford while the Mustangs were only able to muster 7 shots in the game.
Portage Central return to action on Wednesday night at 5:30 pm vs the Kalamazoo Eagles at Wings West in an important Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League game.