TRAVERSE CITY — One Blue Devils team didn’t show up Thursday. The other certainly did.
After Gaylord canceled out due to weather worries that turned what was supposed to be a hockey doubleheader into a single contest, Sault Ste. Marie rang up its school-best 21st regular-season victory of the year with a 5-1 win over Traverse City West at Howe Arena.
“We should have picked them up on the way through, because it was pretty nice in Gaylord when we came through there,” Sault Ste. Marie coach John Ferroni said. “But we came down knowing we were going to be staying the night.”
Gaylord was supposed to play TC Central at 5 p.m. before the Soo-West tilt.
“It’s disappointing, especially for the seniors,” Trojans coach Chris Givens said. “I wanted the seniors to get one more game at Howe.”
In the game that was played, West put up a solid effort against No. 3-ranked Sault Ste. Marie (21-2-2). The contest was scoreless after one period, and the Titans outshot the Blue Devils 26-20.
“I thought it was one of our better games of the year,” West coach Jeremy Rintala said. “A couple bad breaks. If you turn the puck over and give them any room in the offensive zone, they’re a skilled team and they’re going to make you pay. Overall, I was pleased with our effort. We outshot them. We played hard. We figured some things out that I hope will work for us in the playoffs. Even though we lost, it was a real positive for us to get ready for the playoffs.”
West (10-15) plays the Bay Reps in Monday’s Division 1 pre-regional game at Howe. The Reps won the only regular-season meeting 3-2 on a last-second goal.
Sault Ste. Marie broke through for three goals in the second period, two on the power play. Chase Gamelin had two goals and Kolbe Peller the other.
“In the second period, we broke it open a little bit,” Ferroni said. “We established some low play on them and got some opportunities created behind the net and off the cycle.”
West got one back in the early third, killing off a penalty and then scoring soon after on Michael Lake’s fourth goal of the season.
Nick LaCross and Willem Gauthier added scores for the Devils, and Abby Rogue ended up with three assists.
“These kids kind of had a little mission to establish that,” Ferroni said of the school record for wins that had stood since 1989. “It was nice to see that they did it. It’s nice for the outgoing senior class. Something for them to hang their hat on.”
The Devils have 10 seniors — all of whom are three-year varsity players.