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HOCKEY: Line's blast leads Lake Orion to thrilling 3-2 win over Berkley Unified WITH VIDEO

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Hockey - Boys - 12/14/2013 

Lake Orion 3
Berkley Unified 2

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BLOOMFIELD HILLS – The Lake Orion Dragons hockey team picked up a dramatic 3-2 win over the Berkley Unified team in an OAA Red showdown Saturday night.

With 2:35 to play, Lake Orion went to a power play in a 2-2 game, setting up a drama filled ending. But it almost didn’t end well for the Dragons. Zach Segall stole the puck on the ensuing face off and was hauled down on the break away, setting up a penalty shot. But Dragons goaltender Logan Aldrich made a big stop on the penalty shot, guessing right and executing a perfect poke check. Less than a minute later, Aldrich had to come off his line to break up a two on one break for Berkley, with some help from his defense who had to sprawl in front of the net to block a rebound shot.

Finally, eighty seconds after the chaos started, the Dragons converted the power play on Zach Line’s blue line blast to give them the lead for good with 1:15 left to play.

The teams had played a tentative first period before opening things up in the second and third periods with both teams getting up and down the ice and creating chances.

“It was an exciting game. It was a little chaotic. But I thought our team did well after the first period to come back and compete and play with a lot of passion and intensity. And they found a way to win the game,” Lake Orion head coach Nick Field said.

“We had our opportunities, but we didn’t take advantage of them. I thought both teams played hard, and when you get opportunities to score, you’ve got to score,” Berkley head coach Jeff Fleming said. “Both teams had good scoring chances and it was a good game both ways,” he added.

But Aldrich and his counterpart in the Berkley nets, Stephen Wroe both turned in outstanding performances to keep the game a one goal affair the whole way. Aldrich finished with 23 saves, while Wroe finished with 32.

Ultimately, the difference came down to special teams as Lake Orion converted 2 of 3 power plays, while Berkley was just 1 or 7 on the power play.

“Adjusting on the big ice is hard. You have a lot more ice, so it’s harder to get to loose pucks, and if you don’t enter into the zone with possession you’re not going to chase it down. And they beat us to the puck,” Fleming said.

“Credit to our kids for battling through and competing and doing well on the penalty kill,” Field said. “Overall, the penalty kill did a great job, and the power play too.”

For the most part, the game was a back and forth affair. The Dragons opened the scoring midway through the second period when Mike Kirchner cut across the face of goal and converted a breakaway. But Berkley tied the game on a power play goal by Curtis Carne with 4:46 left in the period, only to see the Dragons re-take the lead on a Jordan Stross power play goal late in the period. Ian Melrose re-tied the game early in the third period, executing a brilliant piece of stickhandling between the circles before snapping a wrist shot into the top corner.

“I think my kids played their hearts out,” Fleming said. “Lake Orion is one of the top teams in the state. It was a 3-2 hockey game, and it could have gone either way, so I’m proud of my kids.”

With the win, Lake Orion improves to 7-1 overall and 1-0 in OAA Red. Next up for the Dragons is a game under the lights at Comerica Park against rival Clarkston on Wednesday night.

“It was a good team win. They found a way to get the job and we’re excited about that,” Field said. “If we’re going to win and lose as a team this year, the sooner we can learn how to win and do all the little things it takes to win, the better for us.”

Berkley is 1-1-1 in OAA Red. Berkley travels to Pinckney on Friday.

Last Updated: 12/15/2013 12:50:25 PM EST

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