Penalties doom Alpena in 5-1 loss to Trojans

Traverse City Central’s power-play was too much for the Alpena High hockey team to handle on Friday.

Cam Givens scored a hat trick and the Trojans connected three times on the power-play on the way to defeated the Wildcats 5-1 at Northern Lights Arena.

Alpena (2-5-1, 0-2-1 Big North) skated to a 1-1 tie the Trojans after one period, but ran into trouble with some penalties after that and the Trojans were all too happy to take advantage.

“We ran into a little bit of penalty trouble, but our penalties weren’t brutal,” Alpena coach Pete Doubek said. “The kids never really dropped their heads, but we’re got to learn to stay out of the penalty box.”

Jesse Boilore made a season-high 51 saves for Alpena, but couldn’t slow down Givens who scored three times in the final two periods and assisted on Central’s other goal.

“Jesse was phenomenal. He kept us in range as long as he could,” Doubek said.

After firing 11 shots on net in the opening frame, Alpena managed just eight shots on goal the rest of the way.

Alpena’s winless streak sits at six games and Doubek said the best thing his team can do is just keep playing.

“We just keep battling and playing with some Alpena Wildcat pride,” Doubek said. “We told them look at every shift, concentrate on every shift and the game will come.

The Wildcats had some solid chances early in the game. Shortly before the Trojans took an interference penalty just 1:13 into the game, Brody Nowak came up just short on a backhand attempt.

A few minutes later, Central netminder Jack Boyce gloved a shot from Chris Modrzynski.

The Trojans took a 1-0 lead while shorthanded just 1:58 into the opening frame when Joe Videki poked the puck past Boilore with an assist from Givens.

Central kept Boilore busy in the first period, firing 20 shots on goal to Alpena’s 11.

Brandon Ciupka netted the equalizer for Alpena with 6:16 left in the opening frame, firing a shot from the right circle that trickled past Boyce on the glove side.

The Wildcats ran into some penalty trouble in the last few minutes of the first period and began the middle frame on a 5-on-3 penalty kill for 37 seconds.

Central converted during this advantage and was off and running from there.

“We didn’t come out (well). We probably could’ve come out with a better effort in the second period,” Doubek said.

Alpena took eight penalties in the game compared to just four for Central.

The Wildcats host Midland tonight at 7 p.m.