Saturday, March 4, 2017
Skyline High School
Saline High School
The eagles scored early, but unfortunately the Hornets scored often to end Skyline’s bid for the team’s first ever State Regional Championship.
The Eagles scored first when Ryan VanDiepen tipped a shot by Hank McMillin just 27 seconds into the game to give them a 1-0 lead, and it looked for a moment like the magical season was going to keep on rolling. The rest of the period saw good defensive play at both ends as the teams limited quality scoring chances against each other. Saline finally got on the board when they flipped one in during a battle around the net. Shots on net in the first were 7-6 in Saline’s favor, and the period ended in a 1-1 tie.
By far, Skyline’s best period this season has been the second, but that was not to be this time as Saline capitalized on Skyline penalties and scored 3 power play goals while amassing 4 in the period. With 8:24 left in the period, Casey Ketola took a slashing penalty. Saline coverted just 20 seconds later, and Skyline found themselves down for the first time in the game 2-1. Then just 8 seconds later off the ensuing faceoff, Josh Ernst was called for a controversial boarding penalty – a 5 minute major, which meant he would have to serve the entire penalty regardless of how many times the Hornets would score. This was double bad news for the Eagles as Ernst is their leading scorer. The Eagles were able to keep the puck out of their net for nearly 2 minutes on the penalty, but the highly dangerous Hornet power play finally put one past senior goaltender Sergei Harvey to make it 3-1. The Eagles were reeling at that point as they felt the game starting to slip away from them – they had to stop the bleeding and kill off the rest of the penalty to get themselves back in the game. However, Saline had other plans and scored again, just 17 seconds later as they were allowed to enter the Eagles’ zone and get a clean shot away that beat Harvey in the upper left corner of the net to make it 4-1. Coach Jake Stripp, in a desperate attempt to wake his team up, called a time out and made the decision to put Hector Clarke in net. Clarke had to make some tough saves to kill off the rest of the penalty and it seemed like the Eagles showed a bit of life – they had overcome 4-1 deficits this season, so it was well within reason that they could do the same tonight. That feeling was short lives when the Hornets scored with 53 seconds left in the period to make it 5-1. Shots on net in the second were 13-3 in Saline’s favor.
The third period was one of desperation for the Eagles – it was either win, or the season was over. But once again, just 1:07 into the period, the Hornets scored, making the outcome all but official. Now all the Eagles could do was hold on and try not to be mercied in their biggest game of the season. The rest of the way Skyline played tough – they never gave up and they never rolled over. Their effort was rewarded with just 1:46 left in the game when Luke Lippert scored (assisted by McMillin) to make things look a bit more respectable. The game ended with the score 6-2. Shots on net in the third were 9-5 in favor of Saline.
The Eagles had a very successful season, and made it farther into the playoffs than any hockey team in Skyline’s history. The graduating seniors (Hector Clarke, Sergei Harvey, Casey Ketola, Sam Lippert, Hank McMillin, Henry Vandermark & Ryan Wilson) were instrumental in making this season as successful as it was – they will be greatly missed. But Skyline will continue to be a top team with the remaining group, plus a promising class of new recruits coming in next year. Skyline’s final record was 13-9-2