TRAVERSE CITY — Parker Hebden may have "park" in his first name, but he's started the season in high gear.
Hebden put up his second hat trick in his first three varsity games to lead Traverse City Central to a 5-2 Big North Conference victory over Petoskey.
"I didn't expect to start like this," said Hebden, who played Bantam AA last season. "Not at all."
The Trojans will take it.
Hebden's six goals through three contests tops Central's scoring leaders, thanks in part to a pair of goals that gave the Trojans a 2-0 lead 4:27 into the game.
"He's off to a good start," Central coach Chris Givens said. "He's highly-skilled, has a good hockey sense and has a nose for the net. When he doesn't have the puck, he's always got his stick in a good position. Like his second goal, the tip into the upper corner, he's always got himself in good position. Two goals like that, 30 seconds apart was big."
Alex Oliver set up both goals, with Joe Videki and Andrew Froese each assisting on one.
Hebden assisted on Cam Givens' goal with 1:19 left in the opening period. Givens — who has three goals and six points in three games — broke two Northmen sticks with hard slap shots.
Froese also drew an assist on Givens' goal and picked up his third on Hebden's final goal at 7:08 of the second.
"I was getting in front of the net and Andrew Froese was shooting them nice and low and I got a stick on them," Hebden said.
The Trojans limited the Northmen to two shots on goal in both the first and third periods.
"We played really well the first and third periods," Hebden said. "But the second, we kind of came out slow."
Central (2-1, 1-0 BNC) ended up with a 47-12 advantage in shots on Petoskey goaltender Michael Whittaker.
"We knew we were going to have to do that," Givens said. "We know Mike Whittaker well. He played midget fall league down here, so we knew he's a really good goaltender. ... If you give him a look at it, he's going to save a lot of them."
Darrell Carlisle made 10 saves in goal for Central.
Central closed out its scoring with Zach Bohrer's goal 1:05 in the third for his first varsity goal. It was set up by Reilly deTar and Derek Becker.
"We call it our 'gray' line — Zach Bohrer, Derek Becker and Reilly deTar had a couple really nice shifts, especially in the third period," Givens said. "A lot of puck possession, really efficient on the cycle and not giving the puck away when they didn't have open passing lanes. They just were really aware of keeping possession. You kill 40 or 50 seconds like that where they don't touch the puck, you don't have to worry about your defensive zone breaking down."
Petoskey's goals came from Dameon Spencer (assist by Mike Forton) and Nick Gadowski (unassisted).
"A lot of shots on our net," Northmen coach Brent Ward said. "They spent a lot of time in our zone. They move the puck well and they skate hard and make it difficult to break out of your own zone."
Petoskey (0-4, 0-1 BNC) hosts Saline on Friday, while Central and TC West head to the Upper Peninsula to play Hancock on Friday and Houghton on Saturday in the Rick Miller Memorial Tournament.
"Those are going to be tough," Givens said. "Both Hancock and Houghton are really good, veteran teams. Hancock has got something like 18 or 19 guys back from last year. I think they only lost one guy. Houghton's got 14 or 15 back from their team that got to the (quarterfinals)."