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HOCKEY: Jones' goal pushes West Bloomfield past Troy Athens in overtime

TROY – Cody Jones’s goal with 1:52 left in overtime capped a furious West Bloomfield rally as the Lakers beat the host Troy Athens Red Hawks 6-5 in OAA White boys hockey Wednesday night.

Jones’s game winner was his fourth of the night, coming on a backhanded shot from down low. Trailing 5-3 midway through the third period, the Lakers pulled to within one when Jones finished off a 3 on 2 rush with when he took a pass from Chance Monarch and snapped a shot into the top corner. Just 28 seconds later, he tied the score, jamming one in from close range.

“The third period was probably one of the better periods we’ve played all season,” Lakers head coach Steve Kuza said.

“They say that a two goal lead is the worst lead in hockey, and we proved that on two times,“ Red Hawks head coach Joe Barone said. “It’s hard to hold a two goal lead in this league. It’s always going to come down to the wire. It’s going to be a fun, competitive league. You’ve got to play three periods, and we played two and a half.”

After a slow start, it was Troy Athens who came on strong for much of the first two periods. Led by Nathan Gurzell, who finshed with two goals and two assists, the Red Hawks built a 4-1 lead late in the second period getting points from eight different players in the process. After Grant Golke tied the game late in the first period at 1-1, Gurzell gave the the lead with a power play goal early in the second period. Troy Athens would stretch the lead behind goals from Ian Marchand and Brad Merola. But the Red Hawks Lakers would snatch the momentum just before the period ended when Ellis Fried set up Conner Wujick for a shorthanded goal on a late odd man rush, and the Lakers would carry that momentum into the third period.

The Lakers penalty kill would provide another big moment in the third period when they were faced with a full two minute five on three situation and killed it off while holding the Red Hawks to just one shot.

“That five on three took all of our momentum away, and that will happen. If you don’t put the puck in the net on a five on three, the other team is going to feel good about themselves. And they felt three goals good enough to take over this game,” Barone said.

"We came out and really put forth a big effort. It was a team effort. That’s for sure,” Jones said. “As soon as we got that little inch of confidence, it really became a mile. We started making the little plays, and that’s where everything leads up to a bigger play,” he added.

Overall, the game was a wide open affair with a large number of odd man rushes and both teams finding room to skate leading to a combined 74 shots, with the Lakers holding a slight 38-36 edge.

“There was a lot of flow to the game, but it was chaos all at the same time,” Barone said. “It was one of the more interesting games to watch in the sense of not knowing what will happen next.”

“These are great coaching moment games because you can go back and show your players that there are a lot of things that we can coach. It’s a good coaching game, but I’m glad I’m coaching on the winning side. But those guys over there are my buddies (Athens coaches Tony and Joe Barone), so it’s a lot of fun to play against them,” Kuza said.

Officially, the game goes into the OAA White standings as a tie. West Bloomfield is now 1-2-1 in league play, while Troy Athens picks up their first point to sit at 0-2-1 in the league. Next up for the Red Hawks is another league game when they host Avondale on Saturday. Meanwhile, West Bloomfield travels to Stoney Creek on Friday for a non-league crossover game.

Last Updated: 12/19/2012 7:02:04 AM EST

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