The FNV Griffins battled back from a penalty-filled second period to beat the Petoskey H.S. Northmen 6-3 on Senior night at Saginaw Bay Ice Arena tonight.
After jumping out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Griffen Medina (soph.) and Conner King (Fr.), FNV had a hard time staying out of the penalty box and allowed the Northmen to tie the game with just under seven minutes to play in the third period.
“We took some bad penalties and we were short-handed for a good portion there in the second period and unfortunately that caught up with us,” FNV coach Ron Miller said. “A lot of guys saw a lot of minutes and we were stuck in our D zone a little bit. In the third period, I think one area where we could get a little stronger is to get into the dirty area's of the ice and battle a little more.”
“We had eight penalties to their two, that's sixteen minutes, almost a whole period where we were short-handed,” continued Miller. Our penalty kill was good tonight -unfortunately because it had to be- and it was led by (Brendan) Hausbeck, he played well again and gave us an opportunity to win that game.”
Just 25 seconds into the third period FNV junior Robi Stuart re-directed a Joe Rybicki (Sr.) shot from the point to give the Griffins a 3-2 lead. after FNV killed a tripping penalty, Petoskey right wing Taylor Fettig scored to make it a 3-3 hockey game at 10:17 of the third period.
It only took the Griffins one minute and three seconds to respond when FNV sophomore Kenny Kujawa took a stretch pass up the middle of the ice from senior Ben Rybicki. Kujawa caught the pass in stride and streaked past two Petoskey defenders, kicking the puck up to his forehand and beating Petoskey goalie Taylor Troxel with a deke-move for the eventual game-winning goal at 11:20 of the third period.
Medina would add two more goals for a hat-trick to secure the FNV win in the third period. Ben Rybicki (Sr.) and Alec Kaleyta (Jr.) each added two assists, while Joe Rybicki (Sr.) and Sean Nowosatka (soph.) had one helper apiece for the Griffins.
Senior Brendan Hausbeck was stellar once again between the pipes for the FNV.
“He's a four-year starter, he's been the backbone of this program for the last four years and he's an even better young man,” coach Miller said of his senior goal tender. “He's the hardest worker in practice, so it's great to have someone like him in our program, that's for sure.”
The Griffins will now begin the MHSAA district playoffs next Wednesday at Saginaw Bay Ice Arena. They received a first-round bye, so they will await the winner of number one ranked Saginaw Heritage and Flint Powers who play on Monday night. FNV will play the winner for the district championship at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday back at Saginaw Bay Ice Arena.