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Novi gets its revenge, tops Hartland in rematch of last year's regional final WITH PHOTO GALLERY

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NOVI – Novi’s ability to get off to a quick start offset its lack of a strong finish against KLAA rival Hartland Wednesday night.

And that was a good thing for the Wildcats, still stinging from a 5-4 double overtime loss to the Eagles

in last year’s regional final. This time around, Novi scored two goals less than six minutes into the game, then scored four more times in the second to pull away for a 6-4 win over the Eagles at the Novi Ice Arena.

“We came out on firing on all cylinders. This was kind of a revenge game for us, losing to them last year in the regional finals,” Novi coach Mark Vellucci said. “We had this (game) circled on our calendar.”

More than 10 months had passed since Novi lost a late one-goal lead to Hartland, only to see the Eagles skate off the ice with a victory in double overtime and eventually earn a trip to Compuware and a spot in the Division 2 state championship game.

On Wednesday, the Wildcats wasted little time making it known they were out for blood. Patrick Wojtylo scored off a pass from fellow senior Brad Hofelich 2:46 into the game to get things rolling for Novi. Just over three minutes later, Hofelich made it a 2-0 game, scoring the first of two Wildcat power-play goals.

Hartland battled back, scoring less than two minutes later on a goal by sophomore Brenden Lipon.

But it was a quick start to the second period, and subsequent strong finish to the second that separated the Wildcats from the Eagles. Senior forward Nik Tewilliager scored the first of his two goals just 1:02 into the second period to make it 3-1. His second goal came just three minutes later to again extend Novi’s lead to two goals, at 4-2.

Sophomore Brandon Kour’s power-play goal, followed by Brenden Wexler’s even-strength goal capped off the second period and ballooned the Wildcats’ lead to four goals.

“Novi really came out hard and pressed us,” Hartland coach Rick Gadwa said after the game. “We weren’t ready for that. It showed, especially in those first two periods. They averaged almost 20 shots a period for those first two. It came down to five or six there in the third. That was the big difference, just slowing them down a little bit.”

Hartland did manage a pair of goals in the third period, as junior Nick Snyder scored a shorthanded goal in the first two minutes and sophomore Nathan Lipon added another with 1:09 left to play.

“For two periods we played Novi hockey, our typical hockey,” Vellucci said. “And then, the third period, I don’t know if it was just a little bit of lapse in judgment. I don’t think it was effort-wise. We just need to learn to play three full periods.”

The two teams play in separate conferences within the KLAA, so it was a crossover battle. Hartland is 7-0 in the KLAA West and 9-5 overall. The Eagles had won six straight games entering Wednesday night. Novi improved to 8-4 overall. The Wildcats are 3-3 in the KLAA Central, a division stacked with the likes of Brighton, Northville and Livonia Stevenson.

Vellucci’s team takes on Northville (4-1 in the division) on Friday, followed by a Saturday game against the division leader, Brighton (4-0-1).

Last Updated: 3/15/2015 6:05:58 PM EST

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