Manistee hockey swept over the weekend, now 1-9

Manistee’s Oscar Hammarstrom (2) jams at a loose puck in front of Gaylord goaltender Brewer Koleszar (30) during the Chippewas’ 8-4 loss to the Blue Devils on Saturday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

Manistee’s Oscar Hammarstrom (2) jams at a loose puck in front of Gaylord goaltender Brewer Koleszar (30) during the Chippewas’ 8-4 loss to the Blue Devils on Saturday. (Scott Yoshonis/News Advocate)

SCOTTVILLE — Manistee’s second hockey win of the season is proving elusive, as the Chippewas dropped two close games at home over the weekend.

Manistee (1-9) fell 4-2 to Bay Reps on Friday and by the deceiving score of 8-4 to Gaylord on Saturday, having to fight back from early deficits in both.

Oscar Saarinen scored both goals for the Chippewas against Bay Reps on Friday, the first tying the game 1-1 in the first period and the second after Bay Reps had taken a 4-1 lead after two periods.

Special teams figured in three of Bay Reps’ goals, two of which were scored on the power play and another shorthanded, and also figured prominently in Saturday’s game against Gaylord, when Manistee was called for no fewer than 13 penalties in a very odd contest.

Manistee head coach Mike Foley said that he could not fault his team’s effort.

“We competed well with them, I think,” Foley said. “In my mind, we should have only lost two or three games (this season).”

The Blue Devils (8-3-1) scored four goals on the power play, and another shorthanded.

As has been the case so often this season, Manistee looked lost in the first period and trailed virtually from the opening face-off.

Mathias Eriksson scored two goals and Mason Callesen had a goal and two assists for the Chippewas on Saturday, but not before Gaylord jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first period, starting with a goal just 18 seconds into the wild contest.

“They got a couple of quick ones, and I think Gaylord’s confidence went up and our frustration got up a little bit,” Foley said.

After conceding three goals in less than 12 minutes, starting goalkeeper Raymond Schwass was pulled by Foley in favor of backup Rocco Staszczak.

“Bubba (Schwass) had a bad day, it happens,” Foley said. “They scored three really soft goals in the first period, and I’m sure Bubba would pay money to have all those back, but that’s the way it goes. That’s just hockey.”

Trailing 4-0 at the end of the first period, Eriksson pulled one back early in the second, crashing the net and jamming home his own rebound 3:25 into the period.

Jacob Gustafson cut the deficit to 4-2 with a goal assisted by Callesen with 11:12 left in the second, before Gaylord’s Austin Samkowiak scored the first of his three goals in the game on a shorthanded breakaway with 3 minutes left in the second.

But the comeback was still on after Callesen tipped in a shot from the point by Barry Seymour to pull the Chippewas to within two goals, 5-3.

Staszczak kept it a 2-goal deficit with a big save with 1:50 left in the second, when a bad giveaway in the Manistee zone gave Gaylord’s Bailey Wieber a wide-open shot from the slot. Staszczak’s big save kept the score 5-3 after two.

“We won the second period, like we always do,” Foley said. “And then the penalties really started affecting the kids. This crew from Traverse City, we’re not used to how they call games, I guess you could say.”

Manistee came out strong to start the third, but could not find the net before a key sequence altered the game halfway through the period.

Mason Callesen found himself bearing down on goal on a semi-breakaway, when a whistle stopped play before he could get a shot off.

Behind the play, one of the referees gave Manistee defenseman Josh Fitzgerald a misconduct penalty.

“All Fitz said was, ‘Are you going to call that?’” Foley said. “He may have said it more colorfully, but I tend to believe my kids 90 percent of the time. He blows dead a breakaway for that kind of call. That’s just bizarre.”

Gaylord scored on the ensuing power play to make the score 6-3, and the comeback was all but dead.

Eriksson gave the Chippewas new life with a goal with 3:55 left, assisted by Callesen, to make the score 6-4 but once again penalties reared their ugly head.

With 2:03 left, Manistee was called for two different penalties, giving Gaylord a 5-on-3 advantage. The Blue Devils scored twice on that late gift to make the final score a somewhat flattering 8-4.

Wieber and Samkowiak each recorded hat tricks for Gauylord, who were called for six total penalties, two of those in a late melee with 36 seconds left in the game.

“You get some bad bounces and you get some good bounces,” Foley said. “We haven’t seen the good bounces yet.”

Next up for Manistee is a home game on Saturday, Jan. 13, when they host Petoskey.

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Posted by Scott Yoshonis

Scott is the sports editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach him at (231) 398-3112 or syoshonis@pioneergroup.com.

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