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We ARe Lakeland! go eagles!

Lakeland High School


We ARe Lakeland! go eagles!

Lakeland High School

We ARe Lakeland! go eagles!

Lakeland High School

Game Summaries & Headlines.

Game Summary

1 month ago @ 7:36PM

Boys Varsity Ice Hockey beats Port Huron Northern in double overtime, 4-3; Eagles earn 1st trip to MHSAA Semifinals

Game Date
Mar 2, 2024

Lakeland fans, prepare yourself for an epic recap of yesterday's hockey game. There are game summaries, and then there are the write-ups that assistant coach Matt McElwee shares. Enjoy:

On Saturday night the LHS Eagles played in just their second MHSSA State hockey quarterfinals in school history. For those readers not in attendance please securely fasten your seatbelts, stow all loose items under the seat in front of you, and return tray tables to their upright and locked position. 'Cause it's gonna be a bumpy ride.

The Eagles opponents were the Port Huron Northern Huskies. The Huskies arrived via a cushy charter bus and a 2-1 win over a very strong De La Salle squad. The Eagles earned their spot with a W over reigning state champ Brother Rice and arrived courtesy of Ms. Corrine's classic yellow Huron Valley school bus.

Coach Ronayne "We knew what to expect since we scouted their prior games. But knowing what to expect and doing something about it are two different animals. They came out swinging and we came out ducking for the most part."

The Eagles had a first shift breakaway chance but the PHN goalie set the tone with an early belly save on sophomore Austin Scanlon. The Huskies countered with an aggressive attacking game that had Lakeland on their heels and down one after they hammered away on Senior goalie Paul Baker and finally batted the puck over the line. 1-0 after one.

The second period was more of the same as the Huskies ruffled the Eagles feathers forcing them to the penalty box for much of the period. Northern made good on a powerplay to put them up by two.

The outcome appeared to be grim. But anyone who knows anything about the game will tell you this: a two goal lead is the worst lead in hockey. Queue up Lakeland's hard charging third line of juniors Joel Slicker, Jake Verbick and senior Elliott Smith. They were about to put the entire Eagles season on their back to carry the game to OT.

A week ago, Jake Verbick was in Costa Rica on a science field trip studying the impact of La Nina on common beach sand fleas. Upon his return Jake had logged exactly zero shifts in the MHSSA playoffs. You know what comes next. Verbick scored on his first shift of the playoffs to inject life into the Eagles. After fighting for the puck in the corner Jake bounced it out to senior Elliott Smith who turned and fired it to the net where Verbick had burrowed his way in to redirect the puck. Two shifts later found the heroes deep in the Northern zone. PHN won the faceoff, but Verbick and Elliot pounced to keep the puck behind the net. Smith won the puck to Slicker who directed the puck to the far post where Verbick had outworked his man and tucked the puck in just in front of the goaltender's skate.

The Huskies went back up by one after their big dog #10 slalomed through all defenders to beat Baker with a nifty backhand. So what? So Slicker. Joel Slicker that is. Coach Ronayne answered the Northern goal with his own hot-handed line who immediately gained the PHN zone. Slicker retrieved the puck circled and fired only to have it turned away. Both Elliot and Verbick were stationed at the net getting hammered by the Husky D. Slicker again retrieved the puck, circled and this time struck gold as the goaltender had no chance on the puck thanks to his linemates' staunch net-front mayhem.

Final tally for the period. Verbick: 2 goals 1 assist. Smith: 3 assists. Slicker: 2 assists and the biggest goal of the season so far. 3-3 after regulation.

Coach McElwee: "Our objective before OT was to get fuel into the players. And thanks to some team parents we had plenty of food and Gatorade. We told them that the longer the game went the better it was for us due to our depth. But at that point it's all just words. I'm not even sure they heard us. It's 100% on the athletes to dig deep and find that extra gear."

It also helps to have two of the best players on the ice in captains Timmy Hinkle and Paul Baker on your side. The Eagles had multiple shots to end the game. Scanlon, Nate Dell and Carter Sutton hit goalie knobs, masks and pipes to no avail. Baker turned away all shots. Early in the second OT the Dell/Hinkle/Scanlon combo had just about enough of the Huskies and their bad dog personas. So master puck thief Dell nabbed the puck in the neutral zone and danced his way into the PHN zone. Dell neatly left it for Hinkle who drove around the Husky D and as Scanlon drove to the far post Timmy popped a lightning fast backhand bolt over the goalie culminating in an oh-so-satisfying back bar clank for the historic win. Paul Baker got his third playoff win making 32 saves on 35 shots.

Coach Ronayne: "Timmy is the straw that stirs the drink for us. His desire to compete is on a different level and is contagious. Every team we play, one way or another, knows who Timmy Hinkle is."

Phew. Deep breath everyone. Now on to the indescribable USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth Township for a MHSSA semi-final match up vs. the Trenton Trojans. March 7th at 7:30 pm.

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