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Late penalties doom Marlins in 4-2 loss to Flyers

Luke Hagen/Republic Cade Hearnen rips a shot past a Sioux Falls defender Friday night at the Mitchell Activities Center.

A handful of third-period penalties killed the Mitchell boys' hockey team's hopes for a comeback, forcing the team to focus on defending instead of working offensively for a much needed game-tying goal.

The Marlins trailed 3-2 going into the third period, gave up a late goal and lost 4-2 to the Sioux Falls Flyers at the Mitchell Activities Center Friday night.

Mitchell entered the third period with 1:47 left to kill from Cade Hearnen's interference penalty he received late in the second. Immediately after that penalty was killed, as Hearnen was leaving the box, the Marlins got confused by who was supposed to leave the ice and who was supposed to skate. The team was called for too many men on the ice at 1:54.

Later in the period, as a Flyer forward was skating two-on-none down the ice, Mitchell's Cole Brusher saved a shot by hooking the player, and he was sent to the box at 9:20.

"We really thought we had a chance there to make a last-period rush at them," head coach John Lord said. "The guys were really pumped up, and a few penalties and playing short handed really made it tough."

The Marlins' Tanner Sterk received the team's final penalty of the game, cross-checking, at 12:32. Mitchell continued to clear the puck and kill each penalty in the period, but just after Sterk left the box and the teams set up for a faceoff, Sioux Falls grabbed its last goal of the game.

The Flyers won the faceoff and forward Josh Bingham ripped a snap shot from the top of the faceoff circle, giving the team a two-goal lead and Bingham's second goal of the game.

Mitchell came out strong in the first period, sporting their new jerseys worn for the first time. For the first five minutes of the game, the Marlins held the puck in their offensive zone and forced a few strong shots on net.

The tides quickly turned and Sioux Falls got two quick goals within two and a half minutes of each other.

Lawrence saw 38 shots on the night, saving 34. He made four impressive glove saves in the third period during the numerous penalty kills.

"I thought he had an outstanding game," Lord said about the senior goalie. "That's the way I've wanted him to play all season."

Mitchell's best scoring opportunity came in the end of the period when Sterk made a few nice moves along the boards and put a move on a defender, creating a wide-open, back-hand shot on net. The Flyers goalie made the save, sending his team to intermission with a 2-0 lead.

Mitchell's strongest offensive period came in the second, when the team took 12 shots on net.

Zach Gebhart put Mitchell on the board first on a power-play goal at 7:42. He received a pass from captain Alex Loes just after the blue line and ripped a shot in between the Sioux Falls goalie's legs. The second and last goal for Mitchell came with 1:21 left in the period, when Brusher grabbed a rebound off of Brain Sturdevant's initial shot.

"We were aggressive in the second," Lord said. "Passing has hurt us all season. In the second our passes were looking better, and they started getting better shots on net."

Mitchell dropped to 1-6 on the season against conference teams, and will continue its four-game home stand with another matchup against Sioux Falls today at 7:30 p.m. The Marlins will host Pierre for two games starting Friday.