LAS VEGAS — Traverse City’s penalty killing unit wasn’t its usual self Thursday, allowing three power-play goals in a 6-2 UHU national tournament loss to the Soo Firehawks.
In the regular season, the Hounds’ penalty killers gave up a net three goals in 254 opposing power plays. That accounts for the team’s 20 short-handed goals. In normal PK stats, the Hounds were at 90.1 percent, second in the league to Detroit.
Not so on Thursday.
Three double-minor penalties were costly in the setback, which all but eliminates Traverse City from advancing out of pool play.
The Hounds successfully killed off a Kevin Hansen first-period double minor, but the Firehawks scored three goals on two third-period double minors.
Traverse City — which won both the Midwest Junior Hockey League’s regular season and playoffs over the second-place Firehawks — had just cut the Soo advantage in half on Jake Gillis’ goal 22 ticks into the third before a Cory Bussing high-sticking double minor that resulted in a Kevin Killips’ power-play goal for a 3-1 lead.
Alex Grizzel later made it 3-2 with a power-play goal set up by Scott Luca before Nate Fitzpatrick made it 4-2 with under five minutes remaining. Grant McCormack’s double minor for butt-ending with 3:25 remaining not only put the Hounds on the penalty kill the rest of the game, but ended up putting two more Firehawks scores on the board.
David Krejcik stopped 30 of 36 shots, while the Soo’s Brandon Hansen made 32 saves.
The Hounds conclude pool play today with a 4:15 p.m. PST game against the Jersey Shore Wildcats.