TRAVERSE CITY - The American Legion Bantam AA youth hockey team of Marquette won twice and recorded a tie before losing in the semifinals of the TC Cup held in Traverse City last weekend.
In that semifinal game, Midland North Stars AA '98 scored a 3-2 victory as Kristian Jackson scored both Marquette goals on power plays early in the second period and late in regulation.
Tristan Ashbrook assisted on both goals, while Ben Cole picked up one on the second-period goal and Spencer DenBeste got one on the final tally.
"Even though we didn't have our best second period, our kids battled hard and we were in this game all the way," Legion coach Brian Nebel said. "This is the first Michigan team to beat us.
"We had chances at the end to tie it up but it just wasn't our day."
Midland scored barely two minutes into the game before Jackson tied it 1-1, then the North Stars scored late in the second and early in the third before Jackson pulled his team within one late.
Legion goalie Jack Eyler made 41 saves as his team was outshot 44-24.
Marquette, now 12-4-4, opened the tourney strongly, beating the Michigan Jaguars 6-1 as six players each had a goal before the Jaguars could get on the board in the game's waning minutes.
Nick Bink scored the Legion's lone goal in the first period before Chris LeMire, Joey Phillips, Donny Schultz, Branden Campbell made it 5-0 by the end of the second period. Justin Hendrickson rounded out the scoring in the third period.
Cole had two assists, while Campbell, Schultz, Ashbrook, Jackson and Shane Ring had one each as Eyler was called on to make just six saves.
The next game was a 4-1 victory over the Alpena Thunder Bay Wrecks AA. Ashbrook scored twice after LeMire and Jackson earlier put in goals that made it 4-0. Cole, Hendrickson and LeMire had assists as Eyler made 18 saves and Marquette held a 31-19 shots advantage.
The third game was a 5-5 tie against the Bay County Blizzard as the teams tied for their division title with 2-0-1 records, though Marquette got the No. 1 berth based on goal differential.
Ashbrook notched a hat trick, the first goal tying the game and the next two giving Marquette a one-goal lead each time. His first two goals scored less than 3 minutes apart were both power-play markers.
DenBeste has the Legion's opening goal while LeMire had one late in the second period.
LeMire and Jackson had two assists each while Bink, Kyle Lane and Alister Henderson added one apiece.
Eyler made 16 saves as Bay County held a 25-21 shots advantage.
Marquette hosts Traverse City for three games this weekend, two on Saturday and one Sunday.