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March 17, 2014

Walled Lake falls in state final

Wild’s playoff run ends with close loss to PCS Penguins

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

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Walled Lake senior Kylie Armstrong looks to take a shot against Plymouth Canton Salem during the Metro League Division 2 state final on March 8.

WALLED LAKE — Although the team came into the Metro League postseason with a 4-11-3 record, Walled Lake coach Erik Carlson knew it was still capable of making a deep run in the playoffs.

Thanks to Sam Carrier’s shutout of Farmington Hills Mercy in the state semifinals, Walled Lake found itself in the state-title game for the second year in a row, where the Wild suffered another one-goal loss in the championship game, this time by a score of 2-1 to Plymouth-Canton Salem.

“It was (a tough way to close out). Obviously, you want to win, but we exceeded a lot of expectations by getting here today, so I’m happy with our team and very proud of our team. They gave it their all, and it’s a positive moving forward,” Carlson said.

In the final, Emily King and Jenna Carter scored for PCS, and the Penguins survived a five-on-three power play for Walled Lake in the closing moments of the third period.

“It was pretty much worst-case-scenario for us to be down five-on-three with two minutes left in the third period and only up by one goal, so I just found myself pacing behind the back of the bench and couldn’t watch for a little while, but the girls pulled it off. They played fantastic,” PCS coach Mary Beth Smith said.

The Penguins also killed off a previous five-on-three earlier in the game.

Walled Lake senior Kylie Armstrong scored with just less than five minutes left in the third period to put the pressure on PCS, but the Wild were unable to convert on their power-play opportunity.

This is the third state championship in five years for PCS, and Smith said that all of them have been unique in their own way.

Although the season ended with a loss, Carlson said he was proud of the way his team battled through the postseason.

“They just bought in. Sometimes, things just start coming together. We got healthy and that helped us, but the team came together. There was a lot of off-ice stuff to help make that happen, but they get along and that helps,” Carlson said.

Prior to the 3-0 win against top-seed Mercy in the semifinal, Walled Lake beat Bloomfield Hills 5-3 in the quarters to set the stage for the final.

Armstrong and Carrier were two of the three seniors on this year’s Walled Lake team, and Carlson talked about their contributions in the title game.

“Kylie (Armstrong) got one late for us. She’s a dynamic player, and we’re going to be sad to see her go,” Carlson said. “Sam (Carrier) played fantastic. She played huge tonight. It was just a couple bounces that didn’t go our way, and give PCS credit because they took advantage of it. They’re a good team, too.”

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.