TRAVERSE CITY — It was a good news, bad news night for the Traverse City West Titan hockey team Wednesday.
The good news: Junior Nick Schultz scored two goals, and senior Carter Edmondson was strong in net, as the Titans skated past Petoskey 6-1 in a Big North Conference contest.
The bad news: Junior Trevor Franklin, who just rejoined the team last month after suffering a broken vertebrae in a November car crash, was crunched into the boards with 10 minutes left and had to be taken from the ice by stretcher.
"He lost consciousness," West coach Jeremy Rintala said. "It's probably a serious concussion. With the back injury he had (from the accident), we were really worried that it could be something more serious. But it seemed like he had movement and wasn't feeling a lot of pain. We're hoping (for the best)."
The incident put a damper on the Senior Night victory at Howe Arena.
West, which has won three in a row, scored twice in the first period and never looked back. Schultz netted the first goal off an assist from John Linenger. Max Jenner then knocked in a rebound with 6:50 left in the period with Jeff Lingener drawing the assist.
It went to 3-0 midway through the second period when Dan Henderson scored on the power play, assisted by Jake Saxton.
That's where it stood when Franklin went down after a hit along the boards. Petoskey was called for a five-minute major for boarding and the Titans responded with two quick power-play goals — one by Keeler Steele, the other by Schultz on rebound. Luke Piotrowski and Henderson assisted on Steele's tally. Henderson picked up the lone assist on the Schultz goal.
Petoskey avoided a shutout with 2:11 remaining when Luke Pomranke scored.
"It looked like it was going just past the post so I thought I had it when I was sliding over," Edmondson said. "But it hit a stick and went between my legs. What are you going to do?
"We got the win. That's the big thing."
West (9-12-3, 7-2-1) closed out the scoring with 25 seconds remaining when Erik Anton's shot was stopped by Petoskey goalie Michael Whittaker, but it bounced to Ashton Lawton who buried it.
"We got shots on net and the guys went to the net hard and banged home rebounds — that's how we got almost all our goals," Rintala said. "Those are the type of goals we've got to score in playoffs, too. So I'm glad to see we're starting to do that now."
Rintala was pleased with the overall play of his team. The Titans stayed out of the penalty box most of the night, converted on three power plays and consistently put pressure on Whittaker.
"We're playing pretty complete hockey," he said. "We still make mistakes, but we're doing the little things right. And it's showing up on the scoreboard. We're steadily improving, which is key now going into playoffs."
The Titans also have a hot goalie in Edmondson. He had a couple big saves early to keep the Titans on top. Edmondson stopped a breakaway by Ben Schwartzfisher in the first period and then denied Tanner Davis during a scramble in front of the net in the second.
"Just doing what I have to do, trying to get this team a win," Edmondson said.
Rintala took note.
"He gives our guys a lot of confidence in front of him," he said of Edmondson. "We're still going to make mistakes, but he bails us out. For a team that usually doesn't score a lot of goals, he's under a lot of pressure. He's been outstanding for us."
West closes out its regular season tonight at Sault Ste. Marie.
"That will be a test," Rintala said. "They have a really good team."
Edmondson is quite familiar with the Blue Devils.
"I played with a lot of them on a summer team," he said. "They know how to play hockey."