In the wake of a tooth and nail dogfight to the nail-biting end, the season opener for the Merrill and Tomahawk Hockey squads ended in a 2-2 stalemate Friday night at the Smith Center.
The Jays drew first blood when Austin Burgener swiped one in unassisted at 3:25 into the 2nd.
Tomahawk answered at 14:11 into the 2nd when Max Bembinster scored, with a little help from Steven Renn and Shawn Dirkx.
The Hatchets went up by two just over midway through the third with a score from Jacob Panzer, assisted by Tanner Bartz.
Burgener had the answer immediately, slipping another one past Tomahawk goalie Dan Hanke with help of Brian Root; tying it up at 13:10 into 3rd.
Both sides would dig in and remain scoreless through the remainer of the game.
The same would hang true in overtime as Hanke and Bluejay goalie Bryce Broeking remained steadfast, settling the cross-county rivalry with a 2-2 stalemate.
“It was a close game,” comments veteran coach Bill Hauswirth, who stepped back into the head coach post this season. “The kids battled the whole game. It was nice to see them work together and work hard for three periods. With that kind of effort we have some good things we can build on.”