Benvenuti Stops 43 as Firehawks Edge Hounds in Game 1 MWJHL Final Series

Just hours after being named the Midwest Junior Hockey League’s Forward of the Year, Nick Murphy’s goal early in the third period put the Soo Firehawks up 3-1 and they held on to defeat the Traverse City Hounds 3-2 in Game 1 of the Veteran’s Memorial Cup championship Friday night at Centre ICE.

The announced attendance was 1,011.

“It really doesn’t mean much to win Game 1,” said Soo coach Joe Esson. “Detroit won Game 1 on us (last weekend, before the Firehawks won the next two). We won’t focus on this game – we’ll focus on Game 2 tomorrow night.”

After a scoreless first period, Ryan Marshall staked the Firehawks to a 1-0 lead just 1:17 into the second period before Scott Luca’s power-play goal at 10:33 knotted the game at 1-all. ¬†Justin Garton untied the game and put the Soo ahead 2-1 at the 15:13 mark.

Murphy then opened the third period with his power-play goal at 1:29, which became the game-winner after Cam Fisher tallied another power-play marker for the Hounds at 11 minutes even.

“Tonight was a very even game,” Traverse City coach Scott Gardiner said. “We played well, but they were just one goal better. We’ll be ready to go tomorrow night.”

Soo goaltender Anthony Benvenuti finished with 43 saves, while David Krejcik stopped 22 for Traverse City.  Marshall added an assist for a two-point game and Soo defenseman Anthony Laaksonen pitched in with a pair of assists.

Game 2 of the best-of-three series is slated for 7:00 p.m Saturday night at Centre ICE.

If a deciding Game 3 is needed, it will be played at 1:00 p.m Sunday at Centre ICE.

All playoff games are available on FASTHockey.

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