DETROIT — After jumping out to an early 3-0 lead, it was nearly in the bag for Traverse City West.
Or, perhaps more accurately, in the hat. A hat trick of sorts, but with a goalie twist.
Titans goaltender Brendan Lacharite donned a toque for the outdoor game at the Detroit Tigers' Comerica Park as West earned a 4-3 victory Wednesday over rival Traverse City Central as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival despite being outshot 35-18.
As the old hockey saying goes in part, he didn't have to stand on his head, but if he had to, he'd have had extra padding.
Goalie coach Bob Fernandez came up with the idea.
"His wife sewed Velcro inside the hat, so then once he stuck them on, there was no way it coming off," Lacharite said of the hats, as Titans backup netminder Tyler Buchanan also wore one.
"Our goalie played very well for us," West coach Jeremy Rintala said. "He weathered the storm. We had some parts of the game where we didn't play too hot, but it was one of our better games of the year."
West jumped in front 2-0 as Jordan Stevenson scored on a rebound and Jake Saxton.
Stevenson's came 8:21 into the game, just after a Central penalty expired as he chipped the rebound up and over netminder Jack Boyce. Saxton's was unassisted on a rush with 7:23 left. Each team killed off one first-period penalty, but Central still had a 14-8 advantage in shots.
The Titans took a 3-0 lead on Stevenson's second of the afternoon, again just after a power play expired. Jacob Benker and Greg Brandt picked up assists.
"I knew he was going to take the shot, so I started going to the middle to see if I could get a rebound," Stevenson said. "As the puck was going through the air, it bounced off my stick and redirected into the back of the net. I'd like to say I intended to do that."