Big third period carries Notre Dame over Bay Port
By Murray Gleffe
ASHWAUBENON – Brenden Gruber and Isaac Rentmeester each scored a goal in the final period to give the Notre Dame Academy hockey team a 4-2 victory over Bay Port Jan. 7 at the Cornerstone Community Ice Center.
“I thought we controlled the 5-on-5 game tonight,” Notre Dame Head Coach Cory McCracken said. “We had quality looks. We shot ourselves in the foot in the second period, but I liked our response in the third. Our older guys stepped up and delivered. It’s a game that means something to both teams. We need our veterans down the stretch. We’ll take the two points.”
Before a near-capacity crowd, the Tritons struck 27 seconds into the game after Gruber scored on a quick slapshot from a redirected puck in front of the Bay Port net.
The Pirates responded with 14:38 remaining in the opening period.
Ryan Hilbert danced around the boards before cashing in his first goal of the night to even the game at 1-1.
The offensive output didn’t stop there.
Midway through the first period, Bryce Dahl took a feed from Quinn Koszarek as he flashed the back of the net to give Notre Dame a 2-1 lead at the first intermission.
The Tritons appeared to be on the precipice of opening their lead up by dominating the offensive end the first five minutes of the middle period.
They couldn’t beat Bay Port goalie Devin Rustle, however, as each shot was turned aside by the quick-handed netminder.
A couple of minutes later, the Pirates tied the game at 2-2 when leading scorer Samuel Lyons made a couple of nifty moves to beat Addison Tyczkowski, who was manning the pipes for Notre Dame.
As time wore on, the play on the ice became more chippy between the rivals, as the Pirates eventually went on a 5-on-3 power play with 4:42 remaining in the second.
The Tritons remained stout on the power kill as the score remained 2-2 heading into the decisive final period.
“It’s a game you play whistle-to-whistle,” McCracken said. “Emotions are attached to the game, and we have to keep level-headed during key moments.”
Bay Port appeared to take a one-goal lead with 12:30 remaining, but the goal was waved off because the official blew his whistle.
Notre Dame took advantage.
Gruber went top shelf with 10:03 remaining to give the Tritons a 3-2 lead.
Then Rentmeester put the nail in the coffin when he lit the lamp with about three minutes left to give Notre Dame the two-goal victory.
“It’s important to share the puck,” the Tritons Callan Budinger said after assisting on the final goal. “We need to continue to stay connected as a unit of five. We need to continue with our energy and play fast every shift we are on the ice. As long as we are positive with one another, good things will happen for us.”