Esky continues domination of Redmen with mercy win

ESCANABA – The Escanaba Eskymos picked up their long rivalry with Marquette right where they left off last season, on Tuesday night, continuing an unprecedented run of success against the Redmen.

After defeating Marquette 8-0 in last year’s district, the red-hot Eskymos (3-1) duplicated that score on Tuesday with an impressive performance on both ends of the ice.

“It just feels great, two mercies in a row, last year and the start of his year, it feels great,” said Esky captain Derek Chaillier who had a goal and three assists. “Last year we were pretty strong, we lost some key players but we’re still as strong as ever.”

The Esky defense clogged the neutral zone for most of the game, meeting Marquette’s rush often times before the Redmen could enter the offensive zone. On offense, the Eskymos dominated time of possession and spent a good chunk of the game in the offensive zone.

Esky got on the board in the first minute of the game after a turnover. Stephen Wood carried the puck into Marquette’s zone and kicked it out to Calvin Pinar who ripped a slapshot from the point.

“We got the puck up top and Calvin just blasted one from the point. It was a hard slap shot and it found its way in,” said Hughes. “It took us a while to get our next couple, but the kids worked hard, stuck to the system and it seemed to work.”

The Eskymos would put 20 shots on net in the first period to Marquette’s four but a lot of the quality scoring chances weren’t quite there yet.

Still, sophomore goaltender Travis Cameron shook off the early goal and kept Marquette in it under pressure.

“Travis played well. That was his first game so I’m happy with how we played early,” said MSHS head coach Doug Garrow. “Toward the end of the game I think he got down on himself a little and let in some soft one, but for a sophomore, that’s a learning experience. I think he’ll get better. Hopefully the whole team gets better.”

For the game, Esky reeled off a machine-gun like 47 shots to Marquette’s 13, keeping the pressure on the Redmen skaters throughout.

“We’ve been working on our defense ever since our first game, concentrating on tightening up our defensive zone, picking up our backcheckers, picking up their guys entering our zone and not just skating back just to be there, but skating back for a purpose – tying up sticks and tying up players,” said Hughes.

Escanaba exploded for four goals in the second period, including two from Levi Wunder and TJ Myrick less than a minute apart. Wunder had a hat trick with three goals and two assists. His first came on the power play, on a shot from the right face off circle that Cameron initially stopped, but the puck seemed to trickle through his pads and the red light lit up.

Wunder was wide open on the right side of the net and banged in a quick one-timer from Chaillier for his second goal of the night.

Esky’s last two goals came after Lucas Klingler was give a five minute major and a game misconduct for boarding. Chaillier and Wunder scored 11 seconds apart to end the game with 1:50 remaining.

Senior Nick LeMire collected his second consecutive shutout in net, making 13 saves.

“It’s a good feeling,” said Hughes. “Marquette has always been somewhat of a rival for us and we’ve taken our lumps against them. Now over the last 4-5 years, our program has come a long way and we’re starting to give it back to them.”

The starting line for Escanaba accounted for six of the eight goals Tuesday and was an immediate success.

“That was a fairly new line tonight. Charlie (Zuidema) was out for a couple games with a checking from behind. We finally got him out on the ice, jumbled some other people around and it just clicked for us,” said Hughes.

The Redmen (0-2-1) were shut out for the second time in three games, but Garrow said different line combinations may not necessarily be the answer.

The Redmen had a 26 second long 5-on-3 opportunity in the second period but couldn’t capitalize.

“We had a few more injuries tonight with four guys out. We’re shuffling lines and trying to find combinations, but you can shuffle lines all you want to. The bottom line is work ethic and we just got outworked.

“Escanaba is quick compared to what we were tonight and I thought they did a good job of not giving us many opportunities, and we didn’t respond. It is what it is. We have to get back to work tomorrow and try to improve.”