Christian converts on breakaways often early
Lowell-Caledonia-Thornapple Kellogg goalkeeper Tommy Near slides over in time to interrupt a shot from Grand Rapids Christian's Brendan Hofman during the second period of their Baum Division contest at Kentwood Ice Arena Wednesday. (Photo by Brett Bremer)
Lowell-Caledonia-Thornapple Kellogg was at least as good as Grand Rapids Christian once it managed to clean up its transition from the offensive end back to the defensive end.
By then it was too late Wednesday night at Kentwood Ice Arena though.
Grand Rapids Christian took a 4-0 lead in just over 12 minutes and then held on for a 6-4 OK Conference Baum Division victory.
Christian scored a minute and a half into the contest on a quick counter attack from Isaiah Clark, and then added a similar goal by Ashton Bol a minute and a half after that. Corbin Venckus raced in on LCTK goalkeeper Tommy Near to score a third goal in transition with 8:31 to play in the opening period.
The Eagles upped their lead to 4-0 when Benj Bultema trickled a shot past Near from a tough angle with 4:55 to play in that first period.
A quick goal by LCTK Isaac Hautala, 20 seconds after Bultema's score, on a one-timer in front of the net off a pass from teammate Andrew Davis gave their team a little bit of hope. Christian Smith then inched the LCTK boys closer with a shot from the top of the left circle off a face-off that beat the Eagle keeper to make it 4-2 with 41.2 seconds left in the period. Ryan Kieliszewski assisted on Smith's goal.
LCTK eventually battled to within one goal at 5-4 by the end of the second period, making things much easier on their keeper by limiting the Eagles' break-away chances. Near finished the night with 23 saves, compared to 21 for his counterpart Noah Herzhaft at the other end of the ice.
Christian upped its lead to 5-2 with a short-handed goal by Isaiah Clark six minutes into the second period.
A minute and a half later, Brendan Clarke took a slow charge into the Eagle end and made a nice move at the blue line to shake a defender and then put the puck past the Eagle keeper, with Ethan Riley tallying an assist. Nick Lockhart made it 5-4 with 6:09 left in the second period.
That is where things stood until the Eagles' Brendan Hofman found the open net with 57.3 seconds left in the third period.
Kieliszewski had a few of the best chances of the third period for LCTK, but couldn't find a way to get one past Herzhaft. LCTK wasn't able to take advantage of three different minor penalties against the Eagles' Bol in that third period.
LCTK fell in another Baum Division contest Friday night, 6-1 to visiting East Grand Rapids in Kentwood. LCTK is now 3-6 overall this season.