Forest Hills Central goes to shootout to net second victory at MIHL Showcase, 4-3 over Brighton
Trenton — Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central flirted with its impressive stat of having only lost to one team in the state of Michigan on Saturday at the MIHL Showcase.
The Rangers (11-2) normally use a combination of a strong fore-check and a relentless offensive attack to get ahead of most teams, but adversity found them in the form of the Brighton Bulldogs.
After squandering a two-goal lead, Central needed a shootout to overcome the Bulldogs, 4-3, for its second victory in this showcase.
“Adversity is good,” Central coach Kevin Zaschak said. “We’ve been up on teams most of the year. To be up 3-1, and have Brighton tie it, is good for these guys. We need to play in these games because you’ll have adverse situations against better teams.”
Trailing 1-0 in the second period on a goal by Brighton freshman Adam Conquest, the Rangers increase their level of play. Sophomore Nico Withy used his determination and speed to create a 2-on-1. A well-timed back pass to senior Cullen Beaufait resulted in a goal to tie the game at 1-1 with 5:33 left in the period.
“He’s a very hard working sophomore, who likes to get into battles,” Zaschak said. “We told him that there would be opportunities for a 2-on-1, and he took a big hit getting that pass off. He got crushed, but still made a great pass.
“We preach sacrifice for the team, and that’s what he did.”
The Rangers scored twice during a 90-second stretch that staked them to a 3-1 lead. Senior Max Meekhoff scored off a rebound and fellow senior Patrick Lunt scored on a breakaway.
“We had a bad three and a half minute stretch in the second period that kind of took us out of it,” Brighton coach Paul Moggach said. “We just looked down. The bench was down, and we didn’t have the energy we needed to comeback, until the third period.”
The Bulldogs (11-7-4) needed its power play unit to get back into the game midway through the third. Junior Cal Salmon buried a power-play goal 11 seconds into the first man advantage and senior Zach Vituske knotted the score at 3-3 on the second power play.
“We haven’t had many power plays. We went two games before this one without a power play or even an attempt. It was nice to get those goals, and it was nice to get that energy back,” said Moggach.
The Rangers scored twice in the shootout on goals by Beaufait and Lunt. Junior Brad Halonen scored the lone goal in the shootout for Brighton.
Central transitions back to league play against Rockford on Friday at the Griff’s Ice House.