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HOCKEY: Birmingham Unified shuts down Bloomfield Hills

BLOOMFIELD HILLS – The visiting Birmingham Unified Kings defeated the Bloomfield Hills Chargers 4-0 in boys hockey action Saturday night.

The Kings took the lead early when Mark Deacon got free down low and snapped a shot into the top corner to open the scoring just 4:45 into the game. Adam Susalla would double Birmingham’s lead early in the second period on a similar play from the opposite side of the net, and the Kings would lean on a strong defensive effort and solid goaltending to keep the Chargers at bay.

Goaltender Jacob Saroli made 24 saves for the Kings and provided a calming presence, while the Kings penalty kill was a perfect four for four on the night , including killing off a long 5 on 3 power play midway through the second period.

“It was hugely important for us to kill those off,” Birmingham head coach John Chateau said.

Meanwhile, the Chargers came into the contest averaging just two goals a game and were playing without leading scorer Chase Smith. The result was a Bloomfield team that was able to generate shots, especially in the final two periods, but they couldn’t generate many good chances against the Kings defense led by Jason Bitker and Alex Voronovich and when they did, they struggled to finish them. Solid goaltending from Nick Dingwall, who finished with 34 saves, helped the Chargers hang around most of the game, but they couldn’t find their scoring touch, and the Kings finally put the game out of reach when Spencer Schoen and Susalla scored just 22 seconds apart early in the third period.

In general, the game was a hard skating affair between a couple of friendly rivals.

“It’s a rivalry game. A lot of the players have played before on travel teams. I coached a couple of kids on the other team,” Chargers head coach Bruce McAlister said. “I always like playing Birmingham. It’s always a good fast, game and it’s not very chippy.”

“Bloomfield’s got a real good team. They’ve improved since we saw them at the beginning of the year,” Chateau said.

In the end, both coaches were happy with their teams’ efforts on the ngiht. “As a group, we try and play as a team and we’ve all done a lot of hard work and we’ve got a lot more to do,” Chateau said. “It’s good that we’re getting contributions from all of our players and that they’re all getting a lot of ice time. A lot of guys are getting used to playing varsity hockey,” he added.

“I think it was a solid effort,” McAlister said. “Given that we had a bad game that we were coming off of, Berkley, where we got beat pretty soundly, I thought the effort was solid. We didn’t put the puck in the net when we had chances to.”

Next up for Birmingham Unified (6-3) is a road trip to St. Clair Shores on Wednesday before they host Stoney Creek in an OAA Red contest on Thursday. Bloomfield (4-3-1) takes on West Bloomfield in an OAA White match up on Thursday.

Last Updated: 12/16/2012 12:03:04 AM EST

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