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HOCKEY: Lake Orion capitalizes late to beat Oxford, 2-1 WITH VIDEO

DETROIT — When two familiar teams step on the ice, you can expect a very close game to ensue.

That was the case when Oxford and Lake Orion met at the Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday night. However, thanks to last-minute heroics by senior defensemen Mark Nylen, the Dragons left the Joe with a 2-1 win.

“It was a pretty evenly-matched game,” Lake Orion head coach Nick Field said. “Both teams played at a high level. We didn't have too many scoring chances, and we're fortunate to come out on top at the end. That's the way hockey goes, you get pucks on net and you never know what could happen.”

With 50.8 seconds left, that's all the Dragons (3-5-2) needed to get one last puck on the net. On a faceoff in the left circle, freshman forward Drew Casey won the draw and passed the puck to Nylen atop the circle. As soon as the puck hit his stick, it found the back of the net to give Lake Orion the go-ahead goal.

That opportunity would have never happened, though, if it wasn't for junior goaltender Logan Aldrich, who made some pretty key saves down the stretch to give the Dragons that last chance.

“He came up big for us with a couple of back door saves,” said Field. “But, we ask that of both of our goalies, to make the saves they're supposed to make. That's how good teams win games.”

Aldrich split time with senior goaltender, Rollie Pouget, who started the game. Field said he made the switch because of the unique experience his players had and that it had nothing to do with strategy.

Oxford head coach Dave Hague said the game came down to simply taking advantage of opportunities, and that his team just didn't capitalize when they needed.

“For us we had opportunities in the first and second period that we didn't take advantage of,” said Hague. “We had three or four posts, but those are nothing but excuses for us.”

Oxford did draw first blood midway through the first period when senior defensemen Kyle Schnettler deflected a Lake Orion pass at center ice that found the stick of his teammate, senior forward Connor Novack. Novack then raced the puck into the Dragons' zone and fired a shot that was initially turned away by Pouget. However, Novack chipped at Pouget's pads as he fell to the ice and loosened the puck, as it trickled in for a 1-0 lead.

Lake Orion answered 6:45 into the second period. While on the power play after an Oxford penalty, Lake Orion junior defensemen Jordan Stross cycled the puck around the left circle and passed it down low to sophomore forward Marc Kerchner. Kerchner then offered a quick pass to junior Jake Briskey, who scored on a point-blank shot from the top of the crease to tie the game at 1-1.

For Hague, the Wildcats (4-4-1) need to start finding their identity and get back to the drawing board to finish the season on a high note.

“It's at the point we're eight games into the season, and we need to get back to the drawing board,” Hague said. “We need to get some identity, and figure out who we are. We're small and we need to compete on every shift. We didn't do that tonight. When we do (compete) we're a very good team. We'll get it fixed.”

The Dragons will next take on Farmington on Thursday at Farmington Hills Ice Arena. The Wildcats will take Canton on Friday on the road.



Lake Orion 2, Oxford 1

LO 0 1 1 — 2

O 1 0 0 — 1


First Period: 1, O, Connor Novack (Kyle Schnettler)

Second Period: 2, LO, Jake Briskey PPG (Jordan Stross, Marc Kerchner)

Third Period: 3, LO, Mark Nylen (Drew Casey)

Goalkeepers: LO, Rollie Pouget, Logan Aldrich; O, Adam Pardonoff

RECORDS — Lake Orion 3-5-2 : Oxford 4-4-1

Last Updated: 12/20/2012 5:23:31 AM EST

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