TRAVERSE CITY — Overtime wasn’t necessary this time around, but it sure was close.

Traverse City West beat its Division 1 playoff rival, the Bay Reps, 2-1 in the opening round of the eight-team Scott Miller Memorial Tournament, Monday evening at Centre Ice. The Titans play Rockford in the semifinal round at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday after its win over Salem.

The contest felt like a typical Reps-v.-West hockey game, coming down to a 6-on-4 power play with just over a minute to play. The Titans drew a slashing call to end a Bay Reps breakaway attempt with 1:12 to play, and the Bay Reps pulled goalkeeper Garrett Hathaway to create the two-man advantage.

Titans’ goaltender Mason West fended off five shots on goal, most in close quarters. The junior threw his hands in the air and leaped off the ice as the final horn sounded — 2.6 seconds after he made his final stop of the night.

West is coming off a performance just two weeks ago when he made 44 saves in a scoreless tie to Traverse City Central.

“Mason West has been unbelievable,” Titans’ head coach Jeremy Rintala said. “Everyone just feels so calm back there with him. You can just go out, play the game, and not have to worry about what’s going on at net.”

He wasn’t the only Titan to stand out Monday.

Tyler Esman scored the Titans’ first goal of the night halfway through the second period to tie the game at 1-1. Esman and Brandon Meyers then assisted on the go-ahead goal scored by Michael Schermerhorn with 12:54 to play in the game.

On the second goal, Esman, the Titans’ senior forward, picked up his 100th career point to join Shane Totten (class of 2010) as one of two TC West hockey players to accomplish such a feat.

Also on the second goal, Schermerhorn picked up point No. 99.

One of two will likely overtake Totten’s record of 101 by the end of the tournament. If Schermerhorn scores a goal with an Esman assist, they’ll tie the record at the same time.

“It feels pretty good because most of our goals, especially, have come with each other,” Esman said. “One pass, and another goal.”

Esman said the two forwards work well together, which stands to reason given the two have been playing together since freshman.

“Every year, we just seem to get better and better,” Esman said. “We have pretty good chemistry together.”

The Bay Reps’ lone goal came from Grant Lucas assisted by Aaron Ackerson just over a minute into the game.

The next two periods were all TC West.

Bay Reps’ forward Lars Miller was awarded a penalty shot with 6:51 to play after he had a breakaway chance stopped from a West player who threw their stick at the puck. His shot was wide left.

Shots on goal for both teams were even at 21. Hathaway finished with 19 saves.

“Honestly, top to bottom, I think they looked better than us,” Bay Reps’ head coach Mike Matteucci said. “The first, we looked phenomenal. Probably one of our best periods of the year ... They just took the game over and we didn’t respond.”

Chances are a rematch will happen in the postseason.

The heavily competitive Scott Miller Cup returned Monday after a hiatus for the pandemic-shortened 2020-21 season. In 2016 and 2018, when Reps played TC West in the same tournament, those games went to two overtimes. In 2014, the Titans prevailed in an epic seven-overtime classic in regionals.

“You know both teams are going to play hard,” Rintala said. “Those are the kind of games we need to play.”

Tuesday’s doubleheader on the West Rink at Centre Ice starts with the Titans (6-1-1) rematch with the Rams.

Rockford beat the Titans in last year’s regional finals and went on to finish as state runner-ups to Detroit Catholic Central.

The Bay Reps (6-5-1) start the consolation bracket with Salem, who lost to Catholic Central in last season’s quarterfinals. That game will be at 5 p.m. on Davids Rink.

In the nightcap of the quadruple-header Monday, Traverse City Central scored twice in the first period en route to a 4-1 victory over Lowell-Caledonia. The Trojans (5-2-1) will play either Saginaw Heritage or Toledo St. John’s in the second round at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Follow Andrew Rosenthal on Twitter @ByAndrewR

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