KALAMAZOO, Mich. — After eleven months without high school winter sports, Northview hockey made the trip south to take on Kalamazoo United at Wings West.
In the first period, Poland exchange student Filip Ananiew found the back of the net for his first-ever American goal to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
In the second period, Kalamazoo United would knot the game, as Sean Mason found Jacob Felmeden out front.
Enjoy @NVWildcathockey coach Travis Nichol mic’d up tonight in the Wildcats 3-1 win over Kalamazoo United.— Zach Harig (@FOX17Zach) February 9, 2021
I’m sure he’ll be able to pronounce Filip Ananiew here soon after the Polish exchange student scored a hat trick in the victory. 😂🎙🏒 pic.twitter.com/VZL0wzBKOh
Minutes later, it'd be Ananiew going nearly coast-to-coast for the score to give Northview a 2-1 lead going into the second intermission.
The third period would be back-and-forth until a blocked shot found its way to Ananiew's stick who buried it to complete the hat trick and give the Wildcats a 3-1 win on opening night.
"We're just happy to have him," said Northview head coach, Travis Nichol, "he's been an exchange student all year here for us, you think these times are hard on us but he's been away from his family and has had to go virtual. He's been waiting to play hockey, it's exciting to have him and clearly he had a heck of a game here for us tonight."
Northview 3— FOX 17 Blitz (@FOX17Blitz) February 8, 2021
Kalamazoo United 1
Filip Ananiew scores a hat trick in his first-ever high school hockey game after coming over from Poland as a foreign exchange student in August. Can’t make it up! pic.twitter.com/7nWEY741gN
Ananiew says hockey is an escape for him as he misses his family and normal times.
"It's definitely not easy with virtual school and I'm far away from my family but I'm glad we started hockey today," he said after the game.