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HOCKEY: Lake Orion-Eisenhower grind out tie at Showcase

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Hockey - Boys - 2/1/2014 

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Utica Eisenhower 2

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ROCHESTER HILLS – Watching Lake Orion and Utica Eisenhower do battle on the ice Saturday would seem to indicate that the teams are heated rivals that meet often.

That isn’t the case, but the teams went at it with fury, ending up tied 2-2 in the MAC vs. OAA Showcase at the Onyx. The game was penalty filled and featured several scrums and a handful of misconduct calls.

“It was a bit of a scrappy game, a little more physical than usual, but we both grinded and ended up in a tie,” the Dragons’ Connor Moesta said. “It was a good game. We fought hard. There were a couple big hits in the beginning and it just picked up after that. We just kept hitting.”

Jordan Stross and Josh Gould scored for Lake Orion, which is 14-4-2 after the tie. For Eisenhower (11-6-1), Eric VanSlembrouck and Conner Krause found the back of the net.

Dragons Coach Nick Field did not believe the rough stuff got out of hand.

“I thought it was a good hockey game,” Field said. “Two good teams battled hard, found a way not to lose. I’m pleased with the effort.

“If a team’s going to play with a little bit of an edge, than I would expect the other team to counter that and not get pushed around and I think that’s what happened. At times it was a little rough, but it was usually guys sticking up for each other. I wouldn’t call it a dirty game.”

Eisenhower Coach Bob Hall pointed out that there is some history between the teams, even if the current players weren’t part of it.

“People don’t realize the rivalry that’s there between Lake Orion and Eisenhower,” Hall said. “It goes back to three, four, five years of regional play. They’ve got a lot of respect for us, we’ve got a lot of respect for them. That’s just a typical rivalry game. Two good teams fighting hard, they want to win and they’re going to do whatever it takes to win.”

Eisenhower opened the scoring two minutes into the first period when VanSlembrouck unleashed a perfectly placed wrist shot high on the stick side of Lake Orion goalie Logan Aldrich.

The Dragons tied the game 1-1 with a minute to play in the first period. Enjoying a 5-on-3 power play, Stross fired a wrist shot from short range, beating Eagles goalie Nick Zonca.

Eisenhower went up 2-1 when Krause picked up a rebound in front of the goal and deposited the puck in an open side of the net. The goal, which came with 11:23 to play in the second period, was a power play effort.

Gould tied the game 2-2 with three minutes left in the second period. Gould jammed away at the puck, which Zonca seemingly had stopped. The puck finally tricked in.

The third period saw both teams with power play opportunities, but neither could score. Eisenhower’s Andrew Krambeck had a prime scoring chance with 1:50 to go in the third period, but Aldrich was up for the action.

Moesta hopes the intensity of Saturday’s game will carry over.

“We have a tough couple games coming,” Moesta said. “All the games are going to be like this. We’ve just got to grind em out and get more shots on net.

Hall, meanwhile, likes where the Eagles are at in the season’s final stretch.

“Our end of the year is tough,” said. “We’ve got a tough schedule from here on out. I think our schedule’s set up the right way. It all comes down to who wants it the most in that first playoff game. Hopefully our boys show up and want it.”

Last Updated: 2/2/2014 4:23:18 AM EST

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