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HOCKEY: Rochester United-Dakota wrap up MAC-OAA Showcase with a tie

ROCHESTER HILLS – The Macomb Dakota Cougars and Rochester United hockey teams skated to a dramatic 4-4 tie to conclude the OAA-MAC Showcase Saturday night.

Vaughan Treppa’s six-on-four power-play blast with 36 seconds remaining gained Dakota a 4-4 tie and capped a wild finish that saw the teams combine to score three times in the last five minutes.

“It was nice to show that the boys had the tenacity to dig deep and get one there at the end,” Dakota head coach Mike Jakubik said. “It was good that they showed that resiliency to get one with the goalie pulled.”

“We knew it was going to be tough,” Rochester United head coach Craig Staskowski said of trying to kill the penalty at the end of the game. “The kid took a good shot through traffic, hit the post low blocker side. It was a good shot, good goal.”

Rochester United appeared poised to win the game for much of the third period, leading 3-2, but Dakota’s Matt Riehl tied the game with 4:24 to play. Riehl got loose on a two on two break, executed a beautiful drag move, and snapped a wrist shot into the top corner to tie the game.

But the late game heroics were just beginning.

Rochester United went back in front with 1:20 to play when Max Harper streaked past a defender and fired a shot at goaltender Adam Bryant who made a good save. However, Rochester United’s Graham Day was there to pounce on the rebound, to give United the lead back.

It was fitting that the Cougars tied the game on the power play as Dakota was dangerous all night with extra man, converting 3 of 7 chances, including two in the first period by Sammy Shaheen and Austin Azzopardi to jump out to an early 2-0 lead.

“It was good. It was both power plays contributing,” Jakobik said. “In high school hockey, special teams are huge.”

But Rochester United would battle back, getting a power play goal of their own from Jimmy Pittel with 1:16 left in the first period. United then took the lead midway through the second period when they scored twice in twelve seconds. Max Harper tied the game when he drove down the left side, carrying a defender with him, and despite being hooked Harper managed to continue on through the delayed call and chip one into the net. Seconds later, Tome Rocco came out of the corner and jammed one in to give Rochester United the lead.

“I like how the guys battled back. We were down 2-0, got up 3-2. They tied it, we got a lead again. We did enough things to win the game, but it just didn’t happen,” Staskowski said.

“I thought Dakota played well enough to win the game,” he added. “Dakota’s a good hockey team. We’re a good hockey team. We end up tied 4-4. We’re both the top team in our respective leagues, so ideally that’s what’s supposed to happen. You’re supposed to have a close game like this that maybe ends up in a tie.”

Rochester United picks up their third tie in a little over a week and are now 13-2-3 overall. United travels to Chelsea on Monday to participate in the Public High School Showcase where they will take on Howell.

Macomb Dakota (11-6-2) has a quick turnaround, taking on Romeo at Clark Park on Sunday afternoon.

The teams have a chance to meet again in the state playoffs as both teams have been assigned to the same pre-regional.

Last Updated: 2/2/2014 4:33:15 AM EST

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