It was an exciting first period as Chris Sitler scored the first goal at 6:51, unassisted, and the Blues were off and running. Stew Bell fought for the puck off a rebound in the crease and scored the second goal at 9:21. Brett Skibba and Tyler Rehm assisted on the play. Ben Kramer scored the Blues third goal on the Power Play at 18:07 with help from Ethan Nauman and Gavin Tufte. But the Warriors wouldn’t go away and intercepted an errant Blues pass and put the puck in the net past Gabe Antoni with just a few seconds left in the first period. Martin Gruse was given credit for the unassisted goal. The Blues led 3 – 1 at the first intermission.
Period two started with some bad news as Gabe Antoni was diagnosed with a concussion during the first intermission and the backup Goalie was forced to come in for him. The new Goalie is Cameron Yang and the Blues rallied around him during the entire second stanza. The Warriors scored at 8:24 to make the score 3 – 2, but you could almost see the determination rise on every Jr. Blue player. They stepped up the defense, and the offense helped out as well with Mike Williams taking a pass from Ben Kramer and putting his famous “wrister” past the Michigan Goalie. Just 58 seconds later Ethan Nauman scored on an assist by Radim Matus and the score after two periods was 5 – 2. Yang’s confidence is growing with each save he makes and the Blues gave him plenty of encouragement during the period.
The Blues continued to play inspired hockey throughout the third period and shut down the Warriors while scoring twice more. Chris Sitler had both goals and got his hat trick. He scored at 10:06 on assists by Cookie and Cody Dixon, and then again at the 12:57 mark unassisted for his hat-trick. Congratulations to the Blues. They rose to the occasion and rallied around the young goalie forced to take over for injured Gabe Antoni.
Tyler Parks told me he will be back next weekend as the Blues take on the Chicago Hitmen for a three game series. Kudos to Cameron Yang as well for stepping in to a pressure packed situation and performing with excellence.