Doherty romps to 7-2 win over Pine Creek after slow start

By Scott Kaniewski Published: December 16, 2013 | 8:45 pm 0

After one period, Doherty left the ice trailing by two.

Less than halfway into the second period, the Spartans found themselves up by two, on their way to routing Pine Creek 7-2 in a nonconference game at Sertich Ice Center on Monday.

The Spartans (2-2) scored seven unanswered goals - four in the first 7:29 of the second period - to hand the Eagles their first loss of the season.

"We just had more energy," said Michael Morton, who scored the eventual game-winner. "We got the puck deep, we started playing better and it worked out."

A lot of that win was courtesy of Doherty relief goalie Brandon Velasquez, who stopped 31-of-32 shots after starter Wyatt Crandall left injured just 3:11 into the game.

"He (Velasquez) got beat out this week in who was going to be our starter," Doherty coach Will English said. "Then he decided, 'I'm going to take it, and I'm going to prove coach wrong.'"

Velasquez stopped the first nine shots he faced, let in a goal redirected by a teammate and then stopped the next 22.

"We battle every day in practice and make sure we try our hardest," said Velasquez, who competes against three others for starting time in net. "You got to do whatever you can."

While Velasquez was holding down the fort the Spartans were finding their footing.

They were also getting talked to by English during the break.

"It was like, guys, you gotta wake up," English said. "You gotta dig down deep and find out why you really are here."

The Spartans took it to heart. Mikael Smart scored 1:33 into the second. Brennen Ward scored 1:32 later. Morton gave the Spartans the lead 1:08 after that. Jordan Barrett capped the spurt with a wrister rifled high into the top corner 3:16 later.

"Coach told us to get going, and we did," Morton said. "We hadn't been on the ice for a couple days. It was great to get back on there, and it took a while to get our feet back under us."

It was a win the Spartans needed, after dropping two of their first three. Last season, they swept Pine Creek. They can do that again when the teams meet in conference play Jan. 27.

For Pine Creek (3-1), the quick start to the season is one they're proud of. Dropping a two-goal lead, not so much.

"We kind of turned down the tempo," captain Alex Wendlandt said. "We weren't getting on the puck as fast as we needed to. We were kind of lackadaisical."

The speed of Doherty's attack in the second caught the Eagles off guard.

"Our team isn't used to winning," Wendlandt said. "So coach told us, learned our lesson today, hopefully next time we play Doherty in the actual conference game, we'll do better."

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