So close

The Alpena Street Cats three game winning streak against the Detroit Fighting Irish came to an end on Sunday with a 4-3 loss that came off the stick of an unassisted Ryan Krolikowski goal with 30 seconds left in the game. This goal stopped a third period Street Cats comeback, that looked close to forcing the game into overtime.

The Street Cats (9-6) have dropped two games in a row, after last Saturday’s 4-1 loss against the Traverse City Hounds.

“This was by far the worst game we’ve played all season,” assistant coach Eric Peterson said. “They didn’t come out with the winning effort that we needed.”

The first five minutes of the game were fairly uneventful offensively. Alpena’s Edgar Kharlamov took Alpena’s third shot of the game 5:56 and dropped the puck in the net to give the Street Cats an early 1-0 lead.

Vladislav Khasanov and Sergey Merzlov picked up assists.

The rest of the first period saw the Fighting Irish get rough to force some plays, but it ended up with nearly eight minutes of straight penalty time.

The Street Cats, by comparison, had only four. However, it was unable to convert a power play goal.

The Fighting Irish got on the board 2:32 into the second off a Ken Winter power play. Robert Speer and Krolikowski assisted.

The Street Cats had several chances to score in the second. A perfect rebound opportunity popped up 10 minutes in, with goalie?Christopher Lewis facing left and the shot coming from the right. However, the shot sailed far over his head.

A successful Chadwick Cobb shot gave the Fighting Irish a 2-1 lead 14:39 in the second. He got assists from Anthony Wojciechowski.

Alpena goalie Vladislav Graevski had his work cut out for him, as Detroit’s offense out shot Alpena 40-25 in the first two periods.

“We had outstanding work on the goal tonight. He stopped some big shots, kept it tight and kept us in the game,” assistant coach Lori Seguin said.

Graevski saved a total of 46 shots, while Lewis stopped 30.

Cobb scored his second goal 3:25 into the third period off a Dallas Fritz assist to extend Detroit’s lead to 3-1.

Detroit then picked up two penalties in a row, once again giving Alpena the chance to take advantage of the power play opportunity.

The Fighting Irish had 44 penalty minutes compared to the Street Cats 20.

Alpena finally took advantage of a power play 11 minutes into the third. Skurikhin stopped about 15 feet from the net and put up a well aimed shot that easily slipped past the outstretched glove of Lewis.

He picked up assists from Pavel Bocharov and Vladislav Khasanov.

Bocharov then picked up a short handed Sergey Merzlov assisted goal 10:25 into the third to tie the game up at 3-3.

Both teams skated hard and played rough for the rest of the game, with several hard hits opening up scorin opportunities for both teams.

Alpena had a chance with 8:37 left off a Kharlamov shot. However, it just couldn’t find the back of the net.

As the clock wound down, the Fighting Irish pushed into Alpena territory and Krolikowski got past Graevski to give Detroit the win.

Alpena doesn’t play again until Friday, the 29th, in Detroit.

“We had most of the weekend off and those kind of lapses can throw you off a bit. Hopefully, it doesn’t happen again with our next game,” Seguin said.

Eric Benac can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5690. Follow Eric on Twitter @EricBenac.