Top-ranked Powers scores twice in the third to hand Livonia Stevenson 2-0 loss
Trenton — Flint Powers was undefeated heading into the MIHL Showcase this past weekend.
On Friday a loss to Birmingham Brother Rice ended its perfect season.
Powers coach Travis Perry wasn’t deterred, though. Instead he was curious about hoe his No. 1 ranked team would respond on Saturday.
“The best thing about a loss is that it forces you to look in the mirror, and tell yourself that there are things you have to work on to get better. When you’re winning it’s hard to focus on your flaws,” Perry said.
“We’ve been beating teams pretty good throughout the year. For us, the loss was a wakeup call.”
The Chargers were less than electrifying early as Powers tried to find its legs after two periods, but a third period goal by senior forward Conor Witherspoon sparked Powers to a 2-0 victory over Livonia Stevenson.
“I saw Garrett (Johnson) up top at the point, and make a move so I slid under to the outside. I saw the hole under the goalie’s blocker and fired it,” Witherspoon recalled.
Powers (19-1) struggled to find any constant offense as Perry kept his top two goal scorers, Brendan Smith and Witherspoon, on separate lines before the third period. But Perry knew he needed to scrap his game plan four minutes in, or he had to gamble in a shootout.
“Half way through, we knew we had to do something about the close game so we put them back together,” he said. “They were our difference makers because both guys scored.”
Smith added a crucial power play goal with 6:52 left when he buried the rebound off a Chase Knoblock shot for a 2-0 lead that sealed a win.
Although two seniors that found a way to a win, it was a sophomore who blazed the trail and led the way.
“Parker (Rey) was easily our best player tonight without question. He saw the puck well all night and played with confidence against a really good team,” Perry said. “He was never rattled in a big game for only starting playing since January.”
Rey stood tall for Powers earning his third shutout in only his fifth appearance on the season. The 6-1 goalie stopped 31 shots, and had two close calls.
Stevenson (12-8) carried a power play into a scoreless third period, and immediately got a shot off from the point. The puck beat Rey, but rang off the far side post and fell to his skates.
“The pots are a goalie’s best friend. I didn’t want that goal go in, because it would have changed the momentum, but luckily it stayed out,” Rey said.
Rey also acknowledged that his teammates helped make the game easier. That sentiment was personified with 1:08 left in the game as Rey made two big saves but the found the puck dangerously in the middle of the crease.
With Rey out of position, senior Hans Hering and two other players dove to cover the puck, and moved it out of the crease. They also deterred a second point blank shot to go wide before Rey covered it up for a faceoff.
“Those guys saved my butt. It always comes down to keeping the puck out of the net, and if I can’t do it, someone has to,” Rey said. “It was great to see my teammates scramble to the puck, and keep the puck out.”
Saturday’s win may have come at the right time. The Chargers can regroup and refocus before they host Saginaw Heritage on Feb. 28 to start the Division 3 playoffs and a championship run.