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Alpena dethrones the king of the North

Alpena's Cooper Black saves 27 goals against Petoskey for his 7th shutout, a Wildcat single-season record. (January 26, 2019)

Alpena, Mich — The Alpena Wildcats hosted the Petoskey Northmen on Saturday in hopes of claiming the lead in the Big North Conference. The Wildcats sat one win behind the Northmen. Alpena senior goalie Cooper Black entered the game one shutout away from the Alpena High School single-season record.

With 6:42 left in the first period, senior forward Kyle VanDusen got on a fast break, fired and scored. However, the officials did not call it a goal and the game was tied at 0 after one. Here is a shot of the VanDusen goal that did not count. The puck is in the lower left.

Kyle VanDusen’s questionable goal for Alpena not counted. (January 26, 2019)

Black and Petoskey goalie Tyler Lafaive both saved 16 total goals before the third period. 16 seconds into the third Alpena was on a power play, and 12 seconds is all it took for VanDusen to shoot and Charlie Halleck to tip in the puck for the 1-0 Wildcat lead.

“It felt huge you know,” said Halleck. “Going into the third period, tie game, and just to be able to get that early goal in the beginning just really carried us into the third period with confidence.”

With 4:04 left in the third, Petoskey’s Taylor Fettig let it rip and Ethan Decker tipped the puck, but Alpena’s Anthony Berg threw out his stick and saved the biggest shot on goal in the game.

“Hoped for the best and I ended up hitting it,” said Berg. “I don’t know how I kept it out, but I did so, kept the shutout.”

Colby Plowman would add another goal for Alpena on an empty netter with 0:06 left in the game, and the Wildcats held on to dethrone Petoskey 2-0 to take the lead in the BNC. Alpena’s Black earned his seventh shutout of the season for an AHS single-season record.

“Something special,” said Black. “My teammates definitely helped me out with that. Berg with four minutes left had a huge save. Just incredible. Owen in the first had a huge save. Just my team played really well in front of me.”

The green and white are now (13-4-1) overall and (4-1) in the BNC. Up next, Alpena travels to Trenton for the MIHL showcase on Friday, February 1st, an event that features roughly 42 of the top teams in the state of Michigan.