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Saturday March 28, 2020
Krutina Brothers, Silverstone Lead Eskymos To Win

WELLS---The Escanaba Eskymos got a dominating performance from the top line of Kyle Krutina, Karson Krutina, and Ethan Silverstone, and rolled to an 11-3 win over the Negaunee Miners Tuesday night at the Hannahville Ice & Turf.

Kyle Krutina scored four goals, Silverstone had two goals, and Karson Krutina had two goals and two helpers as the Eskymo top line used its speed and skill to overwhelm the short-staffed Negaunee team.

The Miners came to town with 15 skaters (five of them freshmen) and one goaltender, who is also a freshman.

Eskymo Coach Matt Hughes says his top line did all the little things right.

"They had a lot of jump, a lot of hustle," Hughes said. "They won a lot of 50-50 races to pucks. They just made things happen, even when they went to the net hard a few times, it was the third guy coming in that ended up getting the goal. Karson benefitted from that, I believe, twice, just being the third man, going to the net."

Silverstone got the Eskymos on the board seven minutes into the game as he went in on a 2-on-1 with Karson Krutina and roofed it past freshman goalie Ryan Kerkela. Then with Negaunee on the power play, Kyle Krutina got the puck in his own zone and went on an end-to-end rush, scoring the unassisted shorthanded goal to make it 2-0.

"That was awesome, I knew we had the potential to do that," Silverstone said. "Tonight,  we showed it. We just kept looking for each other, hitting each other when we're open, back door plays, the last goal was an awesome goal. I just know we can do that every game if we want."

"We found each other open a lot," Kyle Krutina said. "A lot of open ice. We set each other up, and we scored a lot of goals. This definitely builds our confidencse going into the playoffs, and into the rest of the (regular season) games."

Negaunee captain Jack Mattias responded with a top shelf goal against Eskymo sophomore goaltender Dylan Ziemke to cut the lead in half, but the Eskymos got that goal back with 28 seconds left in the first period.

On that play, Escanaba's Nick Kolich got rocked on a huge hit just inside the blue line, but the puck popped free and fellow junior Spencer Bourdeau ripped it home to make it a 3-1 lead after 17 minutes.

It was Bourdeau's fourth goal this season against the Negaunee Miners.

Escanaba pounced on Negaunee to start the second period. On the first shift, that top line went in on a 3-on-1 rush that didn't produce a shot, but the puck ended up back at the point to Grant LaMarche, who got it to the front of the net and Karson Krutina scored, making it a 4-1 game.

Then just 36 seconds later, Kyle Krutina scored on a two-on-one rush with his brother, making it 5-1. And less than four minutes later, Kyle Krutina completed his hat trick as he jammed in a rebound off a Brayden Sundquist shot in the blue paint.

Negaunee scored a power play goal at 10:17 to cut it to 6-2, but the Eskymos got a power play goal of their own when a pair of brothers not named "Krutina" connected. This time, it was Sawyer LaMarch getting it to Jayger LaMarch, who beat Kerkela short side.

The Miners again replied with a goal to cut it to 7-3 with three minutes left in the second period, but that top line came though again for the Eskymos as kyle Krutina and Silverstone were stopped by Kerkela but Karson Krutina got his second goal.

In the final seconds, Escanaba was shorthanded again, but got its second "shorty" of the game as Kolich, playing after being crushed on that first period hit, battled in front of the Miners net, and Trevor Streichert roofed it to make it a 9-3 game.

"He (Kolich just went low and kind of grinded it out," an appreciative Streichert said. "He was on his knees, and got it through the D's legs, and I just timed it and went top-shelf. It feels good. I haven't had one since the beginning of the year. I haven't had many points this year, but, it feels good."

"He (Kolich) really worked his tail off on that play," Hughes said. "We were shorthanded, and he took advantage of their guy turning around in the corner, and battled for a puck. He took the puck to the net, got a little tripped up, but he made a one-handed poke-check to poke the puck into the slot. Trevor recongized that, read the play well, and came in and one-timed the puck."

In the third period, Silverstone cashed in on the power play 1:39 into the period to make it 10-3, then that top line put the game away at the 12:49 mark when all three guys got involved, with Karson Krutina making a sweet goal-mouth pass to his brother.

"We set it up perfectly," Kyle Krutina said. "Ethan dropped it down to Karson and Karson gave it to me back-door and I just slammed it home."

Escanaba outschot Negaunee, 37-23, with Ziemke stopping 20 shots for the win in net. These two teams will play again in the first round of the MHSAA state playoffs on Feb. 27, with that game scheduled to be played in Negaunee.

Escanaba improved to 11-10-0 on the season with its third straight win.

Negaunee fell to 4-14-0 on the season with the loss.

Escanaba hosts Gaylord Friday night. Game time is 7:30. It will be broadcast live on Maverick 106.3 FM and on-line at www.radioresultsnetwork.com.

Click the thumbnails in the ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS box above to see photos and videos taken by Bill LaMarch. Click the AUDIO buttons to hear post-game comments from Hughes, Silverstone, and Kyle Krutina.

Also click to hear pre-game spotlight interviews with Gunner Bourdeau and student manager Derick Gould.

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