Lapeer, Michigan - The 07 Lapeer Storm took the ice last night in their quest to remain unbeaten in the 2019 Little Caesars Playoffs. Playing host to the Macomb Mavericks in front of good crowd on Wednesday night at the Polar Palace. The Storm then solidified their perch atop the divisional playoff standings.
With both teams coming off disappointing performances during MAHA District play this past weekend, the first five minutes of the contest appeared to be a struggle, as neither team was able to maintain much control or assert themselves offensively. However, with a little over two minutes left to play in the opening period, #5 Jordan Davis fired a wrist-shot just wide of the Macomb net, and #19 Brennan Bernard picked up the rebound off the back-boards, found #88 Dylan Callan, and Callan jammed the puck underneath the Maverick goaltender to make it 1-0 Storm after one period of action.
In the second, the Storm got rolling. Less than one minute into the period, Davis picked up a loose puck just outside of the Storm zone and broke wide around the Maverick defenseman. His hard, low shot was too much for the Maverick goalie to maintain, and #19 Brennan Bernard was crashing the net and buried home the loose puck to make it 2-0 Storm. The Storm continued to smother the Mavericks with a tenacious fore-check, but could not seem to get the puck behind the Macomb goaltender. Then, with a little over four minutes remaining in the period, #21 Devon Grote pinched in from his blue-line to keep the play alive in the Maverick zone, and following a battle in the corner, the puck was sent out to #83 Nick Hoffman who fired a low shot toward the net. The shot was deflected by #19 Brennan Bernard, and the Macomb goalie made an excellent kick save, but the rebound went directly to the stick of #5 Jordan Davis who wasted no time in putting it in the back of the net, to put the Storm up 3-0. Less than two minutes later, following a loose puck battle in the Storm end, Bernard again found Davis breaking out of the zone, and Davis raced down the right wing and rifled one passed the Maverick goalie on the short-side to make it 4-0 heading into the final period.
Entering the third period with a comfortable lead the Storm continued to control most of the action, but after a turnover in the neutral zone the Mavericks were able to gain control and put one past #35 Josh Eager, to make it 4-1. On the next shift, #5 Davis found #14 Zaveiro Politowicz racing up the middle of the ice and with a nice saucer pass, sent him in on a break-away. From there, #14 brought it to his backhand and slid it past the Maverick goaltender to put the Storm up 5-1. Jordan Davis would add his hat-trick goal with under three minutes remaining in the game to cement the 6-1 outcome in favor of the Storm.
The customary hard-hats were awarded to #5 Jordan Davis for his game leading 5 points, and #19 Brennan Bernard who tallied 1-goal and 3-assists on the evening. #35 Josh Eager saved 17/18 shots faced to lead the way between the pipes for the Storm.
Coach Bernard had this to say after the Storm victory "Coming off of the rough Districts weekend, I really didn't know what to expect from our boys. Playing those top-level teams all weekend can either be a blessing or a curse, and as it turned out, I think our kids took it as a learning experience." The Storm were defeated over this past weekend by some of the top teams in the state in their MAHA District 5 Tournament. "I know last season coming off of our district play, the boys were somewhat demoralized and it showed in our short run in the playoffs. I think this season the kids are bit tougher (mentally) and starting to realize that the key to success is being consistent with their effort. Tonight we struggled the first few minutes of the game, but they remained patient, and things started to turn around. That second period was one of our better periods of the season, and they are continuing to show me signs that the things we have been preaching and working on in practice are paying dividends in our games. All-in-all, I thought each of them made plays at one point or another in the game, and they played as a team. We will enjoy this one tonight, and get ready for London on Friday."
The Lapeer Storm will get back into action on Friday night in Lapeer, as they host the London Cobras (London, Ontario, Canada) at 6:45pm.