RECAP: Blades Take Top Spot Against United, Eagles Survive Overtime Against Mustangs

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The Blades warm up prior to Wednesday’s victory.

The Southwest Michigan Blades defeated Kalamazoo United 4-1 and the Kalamazoo Eagles won 5-4 in overtime over Portage Central in Wednesday evening’s SWMHSHL action at Wings West.   The win in the first game left the Blades as the only team unbeaten within league play, with the second game leaving the Mustangs as the lone team without a league win.

The Blades dominated the shots on goal column all game, but entered the first intermission behind 1-0.   Jake Gerhard turned away 22 shots in the first for the Hams and Garrett Warner put United ahead with an unassisted goal with 1:54 left.

Midway through the second period, the Blades scored twice within in a minute.  The first came from Parker Lawrence, who took advantage as a defender tripped over a fallen stick.   The second one came via Jett Haifley for the 2-1 lead after two.  The Blades took a 3-1 lead on an unassisted shorthanded goal from Chris Bigelow with 11:05 remaining, then added the final dagger on a 4-on-4 goal by Jaxon Dobrolowski with 4:09 to go.

Blades goalie Zac Hattan had 20 saves in the victory with United’s Gerhard stopping 48 shots.  The Blades stand alone at the top of the SWMHSHL standings at 3-0-0 following to win, overall they’re 9-4-0.   It was their first win over United since February 2015.  United drops to 1-4-0 on the loss and 1-1-0 against league foes.

The Blades are back in action Sunday at the LSJ Warriors, then meet the Eagles next Wednesday at Wings West.  United travels to Troy Saturday, then returns home next Wednesday against Portage Northern.

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Carter Maxey (#14) had a hat-trick and the game-winning Eagle goal

The Eagles never trailed in their game, getting the lead in the first three minutes on a Jimmy Wressel goal.  Carter Maxey scored in the final two minutes to put the Eagles up 2-0 at the break.  Portage Central grabbed the only goal of the second period with Canyon Morse’s 4-on-4 strike putting the Mustangs back within one entering the third.

With 11:33 left in regulation, Danny Keene pushed the Eagle lead back to two goals.   Shortly after, Keene was ejected, along with PC starting forwards Erek Decker and Mitchell Ely for a fracas just before the 10 minute mark.

The score stayed at 3-1 until the Mustangs took advantage of a kneeing major against Wressel.   Konnor McLeod’s powerplay goal put Portage Central down one with 3:23 remaining.   Although still down a man, the Eagles seemingly had the final dagger on a Maxey empty net goal with 1:27 remaining.   Only 13 seconds later, Morse matched it to put the Mustangs back within one.   With 27 seconds left, McLeod was able to tie the game.

However, Portage Central couldn’t complete the comeback.   1:54 into overtime, Maxey earned the hat-trick and the victory.

Eagle goalie Drake Witt had 38 saves in the victory, PC’s Bryan Gracey stopped 26.  The Eagles jump to 2-5-0 overall and 1-3-0 in SWMHSHL play.  It was the first Eagle win over PC since February 2014.  Portage Central falls to 1-5-0 overall and 0-3-0 in the league.   The Mustangs travel to Grand Haven Saturday with the Eagles heading north to Cheboygan against Utica Friday and Lakeland Saturday.

Listen back to Wednesday’s games below:


BLADES VS UNITED
BOX SCORE.


EAGLES VS MUSTANGS
  – BOX SCORE.

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