Chips edged at home by Packers, 1-0

MANISTEE — Something happened at 24:31 of Manistee’s home game with Fremont on Thursday.

The scorebook only counts it as a Fremont goal, but for the Chippewas it was a wake-up call.

The Manistee players yelled strategy at each other and by the end of the first half Fremont’s 2-to-6 shots-on-goal advantage was tied and the home team had life.

While the Chippewas never did solve Fremont goal tender Bryar Vasquez and fell 1-0 to the Packers, Manistee coach Rudy Guillen isn’t stressing over the team’s third loss because it could have been much different.

Manistee freshman Chloe Pepera dribbles the ball upfield during the Chippewas’ 0-1 loss to Fremont in Manistee on Thursday.  (Jared Buchholz/News Advocate)

Manistee freshman Chloe Pepera dribbles the ball upfield during the Chippewas’ 0-1 loss to Fremont in Manistee on Thursday. (Jared Buchholz/News Advocate)

“I thought we were going to come out on top there,” Guillen said. “We had some good scoring opportunities, but we couldn’t get the ball in the net. But we are getting there and I like what I see.”

In the final 12 minutes of the first half, the Chippewas out shot the Packers 4-0, due in part to both some good ball movement on the offensive end that was fed by pure effort on the other.

Fremont’s lone first-half shot on goal following their score was met by Manistee goalie Briana Larson’s gloves, then Chippewa sophomore Makenzie Wittlief shut down a potential Fremont scoring opportunity.

The home team ended the half with shots on goal at with 5:40, 2:46 and 1:49 left, but Vasquez stood tall.

“I knew Fremont was going to be tough. They only lost to Ludington by two (Wednesday) so I figured we had a good game ahead of us,” Guillen said. “We talked about keeping possession at mid field and that would help everything else out.

“They did, so it is tough when you take a loss like that because they really played a lot better than what the score showed.”

For the first 20 minutes of the second half, the Chippewas allowed the Packers the offensive zone just a handful of times, and each trip was short due in part to Manistee senior defenseman Savannah Hiipakka.

She also had multiple defensive stops inside Larsen’s crease.

“She loves playing defense. There is just not enough that I can say about what she does back there,” Guillen said of Hiipakka. “We kind of sometimes let our guard drop because we figure she is going to take care of everything. There are times when I have told the girls we can’t let her do all the work, if we are doing that we are spending too much time back there.

“When she is back there she does a really good job, so I can’t complain about that.”

The Packers did eventually muster an attack and finished with a shot-on-goal lead of 10-9, but Larsen didn’t fold.

Manistee made it interesting late with a sustained pressure as they looked for the tying goal, but nothing came of it.

“We have another tough one tomorrow with (Maple City Glen Lake),” Guillen said of the team’s road game slated for a 5 p.m. start today. “They’re a good passing and possession team. That is the direction we are looking go so I am looking to play teams like that,” 

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