TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City West head coach Jeremy Rintala knew Wednesday’s game against the TC Bay Reps would be close.
He didn’t know that his team would be spending much of the night down a man on the ice.
The Titans killed six of seven penalties against them in the game at Centre Ice Arena Wednesday, keeping the Bay Reps under wraps in a 3-2 victory for the Titans.
Special teams was the name of the game for TC West as two of the team’s three goals came via the power play. The dam was broken eight minutes into the game when Tyler Esman netted an unassisted goal to give the Titans a 1-0 lead.
Entering the second period with a lead, the Titans found themselves in trouble again and again as they were called for five penalties in the period. TC West extended the lead to 2-0 when Michael Schermerhorn netted a power play goal off assists from Murphy Kehoe and Esman.
“The boys all played good team defense and we took advantage of the few power plays that we had,” Rintala said. “It’s always nice to have a lead and we always do better with a lead.”
The Reps answered with their only power play goal of the evening from Tyeson Griffore, assisted by Gabe Classens and Aaron Ackerson to make it 2-1.
TC West capitalized on their next power play opportunity when Kehoe netted one from Schermerhorn to take a 3-1 lead at the end of the second.
The Titans’ penalty kill wasn’t done yet as they had to kill two more in the final period to seal the win. Chris Gay netted the Reps final goal with just over two minutes left on an assist from Klassens but the Titans were able to kill the clock from there.
The teams tied with 26 shots on goal each with Tyler Herzberg making 24 saves for West and Judd Lawson making 23 for the Bay Reps.
“The guys relax and play their game when we get a lead like that,” Rintala said. “We are on a good little roll here the last week or so.”
The Titans (6-1-1) entered Wednesday’s game ranked No. 5 in Division 1 and the Reps were ranked No. 7 in Division 2.
These two teams play again on Monday at Centre Ice Arena.