The Blades of Southwest Michigan remain unbeaten within the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL), defeating Mattawan 7-6 Wednesday. It was a game of swings for the Blades, who during the contest trailed by two and then later led by four. The win completes the regular season sweep for the Blades, who prior to this season hadn’t beaten Mattawan since at least the 2011-12 season.
The Wildcats started strong with the game’s first two goals, coming from Niko Stamas and Jake Kruzich within the first six minutes. The Blades matched with two goals within 26 seconds of each other in the final four minutes by Jett Haifley and Parker Lawrence.
The Blades grabbed the lead for the first time on Brendan Flanagan’s score about two minutes into the second. A steal and score for Lucas Slager 55 seconds later tied the contest at 3-3. With 11:07 left in the second, Parker Lawrence got a powerplay goal. Later, Cole Shafer pushed the Blades to a 5-3 lead going into the second intermission. Jadon Smith and Haifley added two more goals for a 7-3 Blade advantage with 6:25 remaining.
Mattawan battled back and went from down four to down one. The Wildcats got a powerplay and needed seven seconds of it to score, with Sam Puzevic making it 7-4 with 4:18 left. Mattawan pulled their goalie and with 2:54 to go, Kruzich got his second goal. With 2:05 remaining, a Brad Kolinski powerplay score put Mattawan back within one. The Wildcats had a few more looks in the final moments, but the Blades were able to survive and keep their unblemished SWMHSHL record intact.
Kolinski finished with four points, adding three assists to his goal. The Blades’ Haifley and Lawrence, plus Mattawan’s Kruzich, each tallied three points. The official league scoring had the Blades outshooting Mattawan 44-19.
The Blades move to 6-0 within the SWMHSHL and 15-4-1 overall. Up next are four games Saturday to Monday in Strongsville, Ohio, then league action next Wednesday against Kalamazoo United. |
The loss snaps a four-game Mattawan winning streak, putting them at 6-6-1 overall. They’re 2-2 in the league, one of three teams with a .500 record (Portage Northern is 3-3, Kalamazoo United 2-2). The Wildcats return to action at home against Jenison on Saturday, January 20.