All the bounces were going Dow High's way Wednesday night in the third period against Midland High. The Chargers had scored two goals in the period to tie the game at 3-3.
But the Chemics' Thomas Smith got a great bounce off the boards and broke the tie with 2:12 left to lift Midland to a 5-3 Saginaw Valley League win at the Midland Civic Arena.
"I got nervous there for a second," said a smiling Smith. "We just got some bad bounces. But, we finally got a bounce our way there and I just put it in the net. This is a great way for the seniors to go out."
The Chemics outshot the Chargers 42-12.
"I thought we found another gear when they evened it up (in the third period)," said Chemics' coach Jeff Brown. "You've got to give Dow credit; they never gave up. We didn't finish them off, either."
Midland improves to 15-5 overall and 6-0 in the SVL, which clinches at least a share of the SVL title for the Chemics.
The Chargers are 9-10 and 1-6 in the SVL.
Dow got on the board just 1:30 into the game as Conrad Lather's power play goal put Dow up 1-0.
However, the Chemics responded quickly as Jason Regier scored on the power play and Lukas Smillie also scored to give the Chemics a 2-1 lead with 9:17 left in the first period.
Neither team scored again until late in the second period. Regier came down the left wing, and his pinpoint pass to a streaking Smith on the right wing resulted in the Chemics' third goal and a 3-1 lead heading into the final period.
But a fired-up Dow team came out ready to play in the final period.
"We knew the next goal would be huge," said Dow coach Dick Blasy.
The Chargers' Nick Kivi took a pass from Travis McNally and scored to make it 3-2 with 12:06 left.
"I passed the puck up to Travis, who found Nick down low, and Nick put it in," said Dow's Steven Roberts.
Dow then tied the game at 3-3 with 7:55 left, when David Laursen dug the puck out of the corner, skated to the net, and his backhand shot got past Chemics' goalie Austin Comiskey.
"We worked pretty hard in the second and third periods, especially the third period when we got the two goals," said Roberts. "(Heading into the third period) we told ourselves that we can stick with them and score some goals."
Both teams had opportunities to score before Smith netted the eventual game winner.
"(Steve Trombley) bounced it off the boards," said Smith. "The puck bounced off the post, and I just slapped it past the goalie."
After Smith's goal, Blasy pulled his goalie with 52.5 seconds left. However, Midland's Trombley found an empty net with 20 seconds left to put the game away.
Midland heads to the Trenton Showcase on Friday to play Sault Ste. Marie. On Saturday, the Chemics face Woodhaven at Trenton.
Dow visits Saginaw Nouvel on Saturday.
"(Tonight) is a step in the right direction," said Blasy. "We're looking for confidence builders. That third period was definitely one of them. Tonight's game is something to build off of in the home stretch."
The Chargers were without forward Zach Paisley and defenseman Trevor Roberts who were serving a one-game suspension for fighting against Muskegon Mona Shores last Saturday.
"Not having both of them definitely hurts," said Blasy. "Life lessons are more important than hockey. But, it was a chance for some others to step up. I saw some things tonight from kids that, maybe haven't had the same opportunity. I have a lot more confidence in some players now, because of tonight."
Derek Striker played in goal for Dow.