PLYMOUTH — It’s a fear built from truth, a fact based solely on reality.
Come hockey playoff time, a hot goalie can alter the course of a game, and in many cases take what seemed so certai, and turn it to what could have, or should have, been.
On March 9, in a Division 1 semifinal, guys on the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s squad suffered the unfortunate consequence of experiencing this firsthand.
Despite controlling most of the game from start to finish, and outshooting Brighton High by a 38-15 count, the Eaglets were eliminated from the postseason in a 2-1 double-overtime loss when senior Scott Schueneman buried the winner with just 1:41 remaining in the second extra session.
“Christian kept us in this game.” Brighton coach Paul Moggach said smiling, referring to his senior goalie Christian Michalic, who finished with 37 saves, including six in the two overtimes and one sprawling glove save from point-blank range. “We hung in there. We sustained the storm. … When you’re part of a one-shot game, one shot can go either way. We put ourselves in a good position to get a win.”
St. Mary’s made it clear very early that peppering Michalic with anything and everything was part of the game plan. The Eaglets finished the first period with a 12-1 advantage in shots, and by the time the second had ended, the difference stood at 20-5.
The score, however, remained stubbornly unchanged until Brighton’s Chet Daavettila notched the game’s first goal with just 3:20 remaining in the third period.
The drama was just starting, though.
St. Mary’s coach Brian Klanow used his lone time out after Brighton’s goal, and 24 seconds later, senior David Muth tied the game at 1-1, forcing overtime,
St. Mary’s outshot the Bulldogs 6-5 in the overtime periods, but senior goalie Austin Julvezan had no chance on Schueneman’s winner.
“We played strong. We put a ton of pressure on all night,” Klanow said, admitting that the inability to score grew very frustrating for his guys. “These kids gave it everything they had. … I thought we outplayed them in every facet of the game, but give them credit. They got the one they really needed.”
St. Mary’s finishes the season 17-11-0, while Brighton, now 23-4-2, will play for the D-1 state title at 6 p.m. March 10.
Follow Mike on Twitter @CandGMike.