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HOCKEY: Walled Lake Central avenges last year's playoff loss to Walled Lake Northern WITH VIDEO

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Hockey - Boys - 12/8/2012 

Walled Lake Central 2
Walled Lake Northern 1

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FARMINGTON HILLS – Entering the season Walled Lake Central had a bad taste in its mouth because of Walled Lake Northern.

When the two squared off in the Division 2 pre-regionals, Northern scorched Central 7-2, leaving Central wanting. To the Vikings (5-1-2), rivalry games like this are always red-letter games and this time they wanted to use the Knights (2-4) as a “catalyst” to the rest of their season as they enter league play.

Thanks to a huge second period by senior forward Adam Dennis, Central edged out Northern 2-1 at the Farmington Ice Arena on Saturday to put the past behind them.

“It's a step in the right direction,” Walled Lake Central co-head coach Dan Copeland said. “These games are big for the boys, and we've been playing pretty well (lately). But, these games are always battles.”

Already facing a one goal deficit thanks to a unassisted goal by Walled Lake Northern junior forward Austin Sansom late in the first period, Copeland and co-head coach John Fritz noticed their team was trying to finesse the puck. So Copeland challenged his team to get the puck towards the net, be more aggressive and to create traffic to rattle senior goaltender Grant Luzynski.

Enter senior forward Adam Dennis who Copeland calls “all energy” because the Vikings feed of his play.

“He's like the heartbeat,” said Copeland. “When he's feeling good in games like this, things happen.”

Midway through the second period both teams were playing four-on-four hockey because of chippy play. Senior Riley Dunning chased a dumped puck to the back of Northern's end and found Dennis camping in front of the net, waiting for a point blank goal to tie the game at 1-1.

Then, following another penalty by Northern, Central found itself with a man advantage for the final two minutes of the period. Once again the Vikings looked to Dennis for the lead.

Junior forward Ben LaPointe fired a hard shot from the point and Dennis stuck out his stick and redirected the puck into the back of the net for a 2-1 lead the Vikings wouldn't relinquish.

The smile on Dennis' face after the game said it all. He just called the win “awesome.” The self-proclaimed grinder said he led the team in its traditional post game celebration.

“We're just feeling really good right now,” said Dennis. “We had a dance party. After every win, we always have a dance party.”

Walled Lake Northern head coach Claude Tunison was visibly disappointed in his team. According to Tunison, his team could easily be 5-1, but are a “disappointing 2-4” in large part to losing battles.

“We lost battles, plain and simple,” Tunison said. “If we're not going to win battles, guys like Walled Lake Central are going to win like they did in the second period. The longer Central was in the game, the longer its a one goal game, the better it was for them.

Tunison was hoping to build off a great end to the first period and had a “great first shift” but noted that penalties held his team back from its true full potential.

“We also get ourselves into a lot of penalty trouble over and over, and that's not helping us, either. But that's the coach's fault. I need to find a way to fix it. Having the same guys in the penalty box with the same penalties is killing us.”

Walled Lake Central will hope to build off this win when it hosts Lakeland on Dec. 13 at home.While Walled Lake Northern will prepare for the Petoskey Holiday Tournament at Griffin Arena on Dec. 14 and 15.

Last Updated: 12/8/2012 11:56:35 PM EST

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