PETOSKEY – The Gladwin Gladiator Peewee Hockey Team traveled north to Petoskey on Saturday November 9 to compete against the Petoskey AA travel team. The Gladiator house hockey team knew this was going to be their toughest challenge so far this season.
“We expected a much faster-paced game than what we are normally used to playing. We certainly got what we expected,” said head coach Bill von Matt.
The first period started out with some good neutral ice battles with both teams attempting to gain control of their opponent’s defensive zone. Gladwin started to quickly adjust to the faster-paced game and began to penetrate the Petoskey blue line and set up in the offensive zone. Gladwin’s defensemen Drew von Matt picked up an assist by standing strong on the blue line holding in a Petoskey clearing attempt and placed a pass down low towards the net to Clark Lux who saw Moe Newman open on the weak side of the net. Lux fed a quick pass, also receiving an assist, over to Newman who buried the puck into the Petoskey net for a goal, ending the first period with Gladwin up by one.
Gladwin continued to fire away at Petoskey in the second period out shooting them 14 to 2 but Petoskey was able to find some open ice and scored on a breakaway goal tying up the game second period. At the start of the third period Gladwin found itself in unfamiliar territory trailing for the first time this season. Petoskey scored on another breakaway to grab a 2-1 lead. The pressure of being down didn’t seem to affect the boy’s as they continued to push forward. Drew von Matt picked the puck up near the top of the Gladiator defensive zone and carried it through the neutral zone gaining speed as he flew into the offensive zone. The Petoskey defense stood strong and pushed von Matt to the outside but his speed allowed him to circle the net for a wraparound goal tying the game up 2 to 2. Gladwin found itself out of position on a quick Petoskey line change which allowed a Petoskey player to sneak behind the defense for a breakaway goal. Gladwin now found themselves down again 3-2. With a little over four minutes left in the game Ashton Reinkie picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and made a quick pass to Ike Wheeler who read the play and started skating hard towards the offensive zone. As Wheeler entered the zone with the puck the Petoskey defense did a great job of pushing Ike to the outside but they under estimated his stick handling ability as he deeked around the defenseman. Wheeler was now near the top outside area of the circle putting him in a great shooting lane. Wheeler ripped a laser shot high on the blocker side just above the goaltenders shoulder and tied the game up 3-3. On the ensuing faceoff Drew von Matt picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and fed a nice pass to Ike Wheeler who did the exact same thing 17 seconds apart from his first goal. He scored again with another perfectly placed shot for the game-winning goal! Gladwin ended up out shooting their opponents 28 to 7. Preston Wilert protected the net for the Gladiators this game. “I was pleased to see the entire team continue to press forward even when we were down late in the third, they never gave up,” said von Matt.
The second game took place 5 hours later and proved to be just as exciting as the first game. Gladwin ended up winning the game 5-3. Putting points up on the board for Gladwin were Ike Wheeler with 2 goals, Drew von Matt with 1 goal and 1 assist. Moe Newman and Jeff Zeitz both had a big game with 1 goal and 2 assists each. Brea Guzman picked up an assist and Maggie Lux had 2 assists. Preston Wilert played in the net again for Gladwin. “We managed to keep our opponent’s to under 9 shoots on our net again in the second game. Our three defensemen Drew von Matt, Brea Guzman and MJ Oshentoski continue to do a fantastic job at keeping our opponents out of shooting range while the offense continues to provide constant back checking pressure. We had several players including the Lux duo and Ashton Reinkie who really stepped up big in the second game to give continuous pressure on the puck. Gladwin has the next weekend off and will be back to league play the following weekend facing Alpena at home on November 23rd at 11:00am and 4:00pm