Big Rapids hockey cruises to 7-2 playoff win over Mount Pleasant

DYNAMITE DAUM: Garrett Daum celebrates with a teammate after scoring a goal during Monday’s game against Mount Pleasant. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

DYNAMITE DAUM: Garrett Daum celebrates with a teammate after scoring a goal during Monday’s game against Mount Pleasant. (Pioneer photo/Maxwell Harden)

BIG RAPIDS — The Big Rapids ice hockey team knocked off Mount Pleasant 7-2 in the opening round of Division 3 playoffs Monday at Ewigleben Ice Arena.

“I thought it was a good game,” Cardinals coach Tim Blashill said. “They’ve got a few really good players on their team. We knew they were gonna give us a battle and we stayed with it.”

This was the second meeting between the two teams this season, with the Cardinals earning a 6-4 road win on Feb. 15.

Drew Wotta got the party started with a goal with 1:13 remaining in the first with an assist by Alex Jones to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead going into the second period.

The fireworks started in the second half, with Arvid Persson (2:11), Wotta (3:35), and Shane Hogan (10:25; Connor McAdams assist) scoring goals to put the Cardinals up 4-0.

“It was our tenacity,” Blashill said. “Our relentless forecheck. Most of our goals we just out-worked the guy and put it into an empty net at certain points. Those are the goals you have to score.

“You’re gonna have a pretty goal here or there, but you have to get some of those grinder goals from around the net. I thought everyone contributed to that.”

The Oilers weren’t going to go quietly as Kaleb Ramon beat Fletcher Bolda to give Mount Pleasant its first goal of the evening. Logan Smith fired in a goal for the Oilers with less than a minute remaining to make it a 4-2 game entering the third period.

Big Rapids was able to respond with Garrett Daum firing in a shot right out of a face-off to put the Cardinals up 5-2 (8:52; Thomas Crandall assist). Crandall would score himself at the 14:54 mark via a JD Lee assist to put Big Rapids up 6-2.

Looking for a spark, the Oilers pulled goalie Andrew Lambert for a sixth man. That plan would backfire as Daum intercepted a puck and coasted the other way to drop the puck in the empty net to give the Cardinals a 7-2 lead.

“We had a good pep talk inside the locker room,” Daum said. “We knew we had to get pucks in the net and win this game. We found a couple through, and overall that kept our line going and we kept on rolling from there.”

The Cardinals will face rival Cadillac in the pre-regional final at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Ewigleben Ice Arena. This will be the third game between the two teams this season, with Big Rapids winning both by a combined score of 6-1.

“We’re playing a team we played before tight,” Blashill said. “The games were tighter than the scores indicate. Cadillac is always a battle.
“We’ll celebrate this one for about 25 minutes and then we’ll get back to work tomorrow.”

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