From staff reports
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — BIG RAPIDS — The lack of offensive production came back to bite the Traverse City West hockey team one last time on Saturday.
The Titans could only muster one goal despite having twice as many shots on goal as Grand Rapids West Catholic and the Falcons eliminated West 2-1 in a Division 1 regional championship game at Ferris State.
West has had trouble putting pucks in the net all season and it proved to be costly once again as West Catholic was able to hold the Titans scoreless over the last 32 minutes of play.
“We just weren’t able to solve their goalie tonight,” said West head coach Jeremy Rintala. “It’s kind of been our downfall all year, knowing that we just have a hard time scoring goals, even though we generate a lot of chances.”
West Catholic’s Preston Boorsma knocked home the game-winning goal with 5:48 left in the contest.
West held a 30-15 advantage in shots for the game, and put the first 10 shots on goal through the first eight minutes of action. None of those shots were able to result in a score, however.
“The way we started out it looked like we were going to get some (goals) early, the way we were controlling play and generating all the offense,” said Rintala.
The Titans (12-16) did eventually light the lamp as Caleb Breithaupt scored a power play goal two minutes into the second period, with assists to Erik Anton and Ashton Lawton. That lead only lasted for three minutes as West Catholic tied up the game, 1-1.
The score stayed that way until Boorsma’s score late in the third.
“It was kind of a broken play in front of the net on a rush and the puck ended up on one of their guys’ sticks and he was able to score,” said Rintala. “We had some great chances to tie it up after that but just weren’t able to find a way to score.
“We played OK ... there were some points where we had a hard time. Their team worked really hard and made it difficult for us to leave the zone cleanly. Once we were able to establish a forecheck in their end we had some high pressure shifts where we were buzzing all over and getting some shots.”
Brendan Lacharite was in net for the Titans.
West Catholic moves on to Wednesday’s quarterfinal to play the winner between Grandville and East Kentwood.