BY JAMES COOK
TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City Central lost a game and a defenseman Friday — and it doesn't get any easier today.
Division 1 No. 1-ranked Birmingham Brother Rice earned a 4-1 victory over the Trojans, ranked No. 2 in Division 2.
Tied 1-1 after one period, a disastrous second doomed Central.
The Warriors (11-0-2) would outshoot Central 11-1 and score three times.
"We had decent jump in the first period," Trojans coach Chris Givens said. "They're way too good to stand around and watch them play; they'll make you look bad, which they did to us in the second (period)."
Central lost defenseman Brady Brantley, who separated his shoulder that he's had issues with in the past. Givens estimated he'll miss 3-4 weeks.
The Trojans get another No. 1 team today, hosting Division 2's top team at 1 p.m. at Howe Arena.
"A lot of the same," Givens said he expected. "They've got some very highly-skilled players, just like Rice. Just like Rice was ranked No. 1 in Division 1 for a reason, these guys are No. 1 in D2 for a reason."
Alex Oliver tipped in a Joe Videcki shot from the point to knot it up 1-1 on the power play with just nine ticks left on the advantage. It was Central's first shot on goal of the power play.
Brother Rice had gone up 1-0 on Marcus Mazur's goal 3:21 into the first.
The Warriors' Connor Jean was given a five-minute major and ejected for a check from behind on Brantley that knocked the Trojan blueliner out of the game. Jean will have to sit out today's contest with TC West.
Connor Duncan banged one in off the left post to complete a 3-on-1 short-handed rush just 1:01 into the second period. Duncan would later leave with a knee injury.
"It was a little chippy," Brother Rice coach Lou Schmidt Jr. said. "I was telling the boys, there didn't seem to be a lot of rhythm to the game. (The referees) started calling a lot of penalties. When you're on the power play and penalty kill, you can't get yourself into a groove. That goes for both teams."
The Warriors added goals by Matthew Manning (power play) at 13:04 and John Zalecki 15 seconds later to lead 4-1 going into the third.
"We had a little better response in the third," Givens said. "But to give up those two goals 15 seconds apart in the second period, that's just a killer."