The South Lyon Unified hockey team beat the University of Liggett Knights to gain a split in the Clarkston Thanksgiving Invitational by a score of 6-4 Saturday afternoon, a contest played at the Detroit Skate Club in West Bloomfield.
South Lyon opened the scoring at the 11:06 mark of the first period, when a clearing pass was intercepted by junior forward Dylan Cordes. Cordes gloved the pass while skating between the face-off circles and quickly drove a shot past the Knights goaltender, Luke Soyka.
South Lyon exploded for two goals in 31 seconds late in the period. The first came from a blast from the right point from senior defenseman Cam Thomas. The play started in the Knights' offensive zone, as the face off was won by junior Corey Robertson and was cleanly drawn back to the point. The final goal of the period and second in the 31-second span came from junior forward Tyler Manasco, who cashed in on a rebound from a shot from Robertson. The play was started by Thomas, who found Robertson with a pass breaking as he was streaking through the neutral zone. South Lyon outshot the Knights 7-5 in the period.
The Knights came out strong in the second, getting on the scoreboard at the 14:42 mark on the power play, as senior Manny Counsman lit the lamp, with assists going to junior Vince Scarfone and Stephen Campau. Campau made it a 3-2 game with a one-timer to the stick side of South Lyon goalie, sophomore Justin Zabinski. The goal was the first as a varsity player for Campau and came on the power play.
The one-goal gap was closed with four minutes left in the second, as Scarfone picked up his second point of the game, an even strength tally that bounced in off a South Lyon defenseman's skate. Counsman picked up an assist on the play. The Knights outshot South Lyon 10-6, and had the entire momentum heading into the third.
Picking up the intensity and looking for its first victory of the young season, South Lyon finally broke the deadlock when senior Cory Haas knocked in a rebound from a shot from senior Alex Hudgens at the 12:19 mark.
A mere 60 seconds later, Thomas scored his second goal of the game, the eventual game-winner with another blast from the point.
The Knights undaunted by the two quick goals, pulled within one when freshman Alexander Minamov beat goaltender Zabinski, with assists going to junior forward Bill Yates and senior forward Cam Marchese.
With the momentum back on the Knights' side, Counsman was alone in front of the net and ripped a one timer for the what looked like the equalizer, but goaltender Zabinski made the save of the game, a huge pad save to keep South Lyon up by one.
South Lyon put the game out of reach, as senior forward Sean Carroll knocked in a loose puck from the crease on a play started by senior defenseman Grant Widger.
Besides the win, it was a series of firsts for South Lyon, as Tyler Manasco, Dylan Cordes, Sean Carroll and Grant Widger picked up their first varsity points and goaltender Justin Zabinski picked up his first win between the pipes as a varsity starter, stopping 19 of 23 shots.
South Lyon's next game will be a KLAA Central matchup, as the Unified team looks to corral the Mustangs of Northville High School as it invades the Kensington Valley Ice House for the first home game of the season.