Niemi stout in goal, as Pirates defeat Jaguars
By Murray Gleffe
ASHWAUBENON — One day after posting a shutout against De Pere, Bay Port goalie Marcus Niemi was back at it again Jan. 23.
This time, Niemi stopped all 17 shots in net, as the Pirates defeated Ashwaubenon 4-0 in a Fox River Classic Conference hockey game at the Cornerstone Community Ice Center in Ashwaubenon.
Bay Port outshot Ashwaubenon 14-0 in the third period and 31-17 total for the game.
“We’ve been in a funk the last four or five games,” said Mike Buchan, Bay Port head coach. “It’s good to gain confidence as a group. We didn’t have the best start, but we held it together, and the final period was our best of the entire season.”
The Jaguars (10-5-1 overall) threw everything but the kitchen sink at Niemi during the first seven minutes of the first period but couldn’t find the net.
“I thought we dominated the first period,” said Matt Golden, Ashwaubenon head coach. “If you would have told me we’d come out like we did and not score, I never would have thought it. Sometimes, the bounces don’t go your way.”
With 8:33 remaining in the opening stanza, the Pirates (12-6) finally gained some offensive momentum, as Jay Ribar took the puck on the left-wing and jammed home the first goal of the night.
Exactly four minutes later, Bay Port’s Sam Komoroske backpedaled in his zone, took the puck up the ice and seconds later found a cutting Ty Froelich, who put a slapshot past Lincoln Simons for a 2-0 lead.
“The entire time, we were yelling at Sam to pass the puck,” said Buchan. “He obviously knew what he was doing. It was a fantastic play which ended well. In all honesty, the goal turned the game in our favor.”
Much like the first time the two teams met, the second period was full of penalties and substandard hockey.
With about a minute left in the middle period, the Jaguars had their best opportunity of the night with a 3-on-1 attack.
At the last moment, Bay Port defenseman Tyler Brady got a stick in the passing lane and quite possibly, stopped an Ashwaubenon goal from occurring.
With a two-goal lead heading into the final period and the shots even at 17 apiece, the Pirates went to work.
Ninety seconds in, Samuel Lyons sent in a wrister, which found the back of the net for a 3-0 lead.
The final dagger came with 11:44 remaining when Aidan Fahey notched his first goal of the game.
Down the stretch, Niemi wasn’t pushed in net, as he continued perfect hockey for the past six periods.
In Bay Port’s 3-0 victory over De Pere Jan. 22, Niemi stopped all 19 shots he faced.
“In order to have success, your goaltender has to step up in the key moments,” said Buchan. “When Marcus makes saves, it makes everybody else around him play better.”
Both teams will finish the regular season with nonconference matchups before heading into the WIAA Division 1 postseason starting Feb.2.
Ashwaubenon: 0, 0, 0 — 0
Bay Port: 2, 0, 2 — 4