BY ANDY ROWER | MIRROR SPORTS — Sophomore Brett Birt recorded a hat trick while leading Maumee’s hockey team to a 7-1 victory over Springfield at Bowling Green State University’s Slater Family Ice Arena on January 5.
Despite the initial strong defensive play of the Blue Devils’ Izzy Atkinson, the Panthers took a quick 1-0 lead on an unassisted goal by junior Zach Marvin just 1:19 into the contest.
Marvin next combined with junior Kenlyn Foster and freshmen Owen Grycza, Brooke Kayne, Derek Marvin and Josh Reimer to take 11 more shots through the remainder of the opening period, but Springfield goaltender Kalen Branch proved to be up to the challenge.
While Branch got some defensive help from teammates such as Nick Gaffney and Kellen McGrath over that stretch, the Panthers eventually opened the proverbial floodgates in the second period.
Birt scored his first goal on assists from Kayne and junior goalie Roby Fairchild just 51 seconds into the stanza and Grycza pushed the score to 3-0 by scoring on a Zach Marvin assist 4:00 later.
In spite of defensive pressure from Springfield’s Atkinson, McGrath and Tanner Gray, Derek Marvin got into the scoring action 3:55 later on brother Zach’s second assist of the night.
The Blue Devils’ Evan Verno did his best to try and stop Maumee’s scoring barrage, but Birt still managed to net his second goal with 3:48 remaining in the second.
The Panthers closed the period out with 10 unanswered shots from Birt, Foster, Kayne and Zach Marvin, but the final frame ultimately began with Springfield trailing 5-0.
Atkinson and McGrath next kept Maumee’s offense in check long enough for the Blue Devils to avoid a shutout on an assist from Collin Gedeon to Gray with 12:27 left in the game, but that’s as close as Springfield got.
The Panthers responded with five consecutive shots from Birt, Grycza and Zach Marvin before Birt completed his hat trick on a long unassisted goal with 6:27 to go.
Gray took one final shot for the Blue Devils with 3:21 left on the clock, but it was sandwiched between eight more Maumee attempts from Birt, Derek and Zach Marvin and senior Collin Grimes.
Branch, Gaffney and Verno never gave up on Springfield’s defense, but Derek Marvin eventually tacked on a seventh Panthers goal on an assist from Zach Marvin with mere seconds still showing on the clock.
With Birt, Foster and Zach Marvin leading the way, Maumee ended up outshooting Springfield 49-4.
Fairchild finished with three saves and got plenty of defensive help from Foster, Grycza and Zach Marvin, as Maumee improved to 3-6-2 with the win.
Branch racked up an impressive 42 saves for the Blue Devils.
Lake 6, Maumee 2
The Panthers’ sixth loss came over the Christmas break in a 6-2 game against Lake on December 21.
Maumee scored the game’s first goal on an assist from Birt to Zach Marvin just 1:17 in, but the Flyers answered with a quartet of first-period goals by Michael Tolles, Brent Hegemier, R.J. St. Johns and Krieg Boisselle.
Lake then pushed the score to 6-1 on a pair of second-period goals by Chase Soltis.
The Panthers managed the only third-period goal on an assist from Zach Marvin to Derek Marvin with 11:21 to go, but that’s as close as Maumee got.
The Flyers outshot the Panthers 68-26 on the night and saw assists from Soltis, St. John’s, Joe Boesel, Sean Gollehon, Trenton Tussing and Raymond Wagner.
Maumee will next square off against Southview on Friday at 9:00 p.m. at Tam-O-Shanter before playing in a rematch with Perrysburg at BGSU on Saturday.