BY JAMES COOK
TRAVERSE CITY —
Two coaches left Wednesday's game between Traverse City Central and Grandville not exactly happy about their team's performance.
Central notched the 3-1 win at Howe Arena, coming out of the gates a little slow after winning three games last weekend to capture the Scott Miller Memorial Holiday Tournament.
"There wasn't a lot of energy," Trojans coach Chris Givens said. "We didn't play with a lot of jump. The bench wasn't up. I don't know what it was, but hopefully we change it soon, because we've got a very, very difficult part of our schedule coming up in the next seven or eight days."
Grandville coach Joel Breazeale echoed those sentiments, saying his team has played better this season against teams of the caliber of No. 2-ranked Central.
"Traverse City is a good, solid hockey team," Breazeale said. "They play a good, solid, clean, physical game. I don't think our kids showed up to play the game they should have against them. We've played competition right at about their level is, and I don't want to take anything away from Traverse City, but we were a little disappointed in our kids' performance."
Central improves to 10-1, while Grandville falls to 5-6-1.
The Trojans scored one goal in each period, led off by Nico Saco's first-period marker off a turnover forced by Cam Givens.
Alex Oliver made it 2-0 with a second-period power-play goal off Cooper Macdonell and Jon Russell assists.
"My linemate Cooper Macdonell was battling hard in the corner and he won the puck and put it in front and I just put it in," Oliver said. "He did most of the work. I just finished it."
The Trojans took a 3-0 lead on Macdonell's third-period goal set up by Oliver, but Grandville answered 28 seconds later on Noah Weigle's score.
"We came out a little slow, but we put a couple shifts together and got some momentum going our way," Oliver said.
With 1:19 left, defenseman Joe Videki took out the Bulldogs' Brandon Rozema after goalie Michael Wittersheim tried to beat Rozema to a loose puck and the Grandville player ended up with a clear shot at an empty net before Videki was whistled for tripping.
"That's a great play by Joe to come back all the way, basically, defending an open net," Givens said. "He made the play he had to. There wasn't much else he could do. If he doesn't leave his feet and take the guy down, he was going to score. It was a great play by Joe. The other ones we had ... there's no reason for that, but Joe's was a good penalty."
Central's schedule the next two weeks is incredibly difficult. On Friday, the Trojans host Alpena — which was ranked in the top 10 in Division 3 at one point — and then host Division 1 No. 1 Birmingham Brother Rice on Jan. 11 and Division 2 No. 1 Livonia Stevenson the following afternoon.
"We have some tough teams coming up," Oliver said. "It'll be a tough test to see how good we really are. It'll be a tough test, but I think we can hang with them."