For the first fifty minutes, the game was all Port Huron’s. The Icehawks flew up and down the ice, seemingly at will.
The last ten minutes were a different story.
Port Huron allowed four goals in the last ten minutes but held on to defeat the Flint Generals, 6-5, at McMorran Arena on Saturday, March 20.
“We got complacent with a 6-1 lead,” Icehawks’ Coach Stan Drulia said. “We took a dumb penalty, let them get the second one, and stopped playing. I’m obviously not happy. I gave it to the guys pretty good. But in their defense, you don’t know what a penalty is anymore.
“The officiating was disgusting again tonight. The referee was undoubtedly refereeing the score. There’s no call when we were getting hooked in the slot but then something goes minor our way and he calls it. Those penalties gave them the opportunity to climb back in. It was part us but the officiating was also lacking.”
The Icehawks opened the scoring at the eight minute mark of the first period as Kerry Bowman shoveled a pass across the net to be tipped in by Nick Lindberg for goal number 14 of the season.
Seven minutes later Ian Turner shot a knuckler that Peter Flache deflected past the Flint goalie to make it 2-0.
After Flint halved the lead in the second period, Port Huron’s Mike Kinnie tallied the first of his three goals. The Icehawks’ Derek Patrosso followed with a shorthanded goal, his 26th of the year.
Kinnie scored his second of the night late in the second period then completed his hat trick with his 17th goal of the season, three minutes into the third period.
“It was great to get Mike back in the lineup,” Port Huron’s Captain Kris Vernarsky said. “He always adds offense to our lineup. However, we need to remember we always have to put out a 60 minute effort this time of the year.
“Flint is fighting for a playoff spot. We got away from the little things, took a couple of bad penalties on which they scored, and that’s a game changer right there.”
Flint scored four unanswered goals but Port Huron held them off in the final minutes for the win.
“We have to keep a high level of confidence going into the playoffs,” Vernarsky said. “We need to work on the little things and enter the first round on a roll.”
Drulia agrees that work needs to be done.
“We’ve got some work to do if we’re going to move up the ladder,” he said. “We need to play the game the right way. We’re getting some of our guys back from injury and that will hopefully push the envelope for us.”
The Bloomington Prairie Thunder returns to McMorran to battle the Hawks on Tuesday, March 30. Face off time is 7 p.m. For further Icehawks’ information, visit www.porthuronicehawks.com.