BRIGHTON — After the game, the somewhat grouchy Paul Moggach who growled about how “it’s not a rivalry if you don’t win” when asked about playing Hartland was gone.
After his team liost to Harltand 4-2, the sixth consecutive win by the Eagles over the Bulldogs, the Brighton coach talked about his team’s next game, at Utica Eisenhower on Wednesday.
“I think you take the feeling of he loss and try to make that into something positive,” Moggach said. “We’ve got to be desperate sometimes, and we can’t put ourselves into situations where we’re catching up at the end.”
The Eagles (17-4-1) won their eighth in a row with tough defense supporting goalie Brett Tome and vice versa. They got goals from four different goal-scorers despite missing on a pair of point-blank chances, one on an empty net, when the puck hit a post.
“This was one of those games where efforts that don’t show up on scoresheets really played a factor,” Hartland coach Rick Gadwa said. “We were a little shorthanded tonightk but we found a way.”
Gabe Anderson got the scoring started late in the first period, when he slipped behind the Brighton defense during a line change and scored off a pass from Brendan Tulpa.
Brody White tied the game for Brighton (15-6-1) when he scored off a Hartland turnover from just inside the blue line in the opening moments of the second period.
Josh Albring, whose move to center has helped solidify the Hartland offense, and whose reputation as a scorer attracts defenders like iron shavings to a magnet, found Jake Behnke and Tulpa by drawing those defenders to him, then rifling a pass to the opposite side, where Behnke and Tulpa one-timed the passes for goals that gave Hartland a 3-2 lead after two.
“There was a hole, I guess,” Behnke said, “Josh somehow slid it thorugh, and it was an easy tap-in.”
Grant Pietila, who scored the final goal in a mercy-rule win at Flint Powers last week, put the game effectively out of reach with 4:02 remaining. The goals were his first of the season.
Mathew Kahra also scored for the Bulldogs.
It was the first of three tests for Hartland this week. The Eagles are home against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s on Wednesday, then play host to Livonia Stevenson for the KLAA title on Friday.
“We like to celebrate for the night, and get ready for the next game the following day,” Gadwa said. “It’s a treacherous week for us, but this is exactly what we want this time of year.”
Moggach, too, will make sure his team is looking ahead with the start of the state tournament looming in two weeks.
“I want them to come to practice (Tuesday), have some fun with each other, and let’s win on Wednesday,” he said. “That’s where we need to go.”