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HOCKEY: Clarkston wins high-scoring contest against Rochester United

BLOOMFIELD HILLS – The Clarkston Wolves picked up their first OAA Red win of the year, topping the visiting Rochester United boys hockey team 6-4 at the Detroit Skating Club Thursday night.

“It was well deserved for our boys. I got a little worried there when it was 3-1 first period, but they never let up,” Clarkston assistant coach Roman Krygier said. “It’s probably one of our best games we’ve played in a team effort,” he added.

Garrett Polish scored the game-winner with exactly 10 minutes to play, when Adam Johns banked a pass to him off the end boards and Polish slammed it into the open side of the net. Just under four minutes later, Alex Tanielian added an insurance marker when he pounced on a loose puck out front and fired it over the outstretched goaltender.

Polish’s goal provided the climax to a game which was marked by a wild start as the teams combined for five goals and 15 shots in a span of less than six minutes early in the first period. Clarkston open the scoring on the Wolves’ very first shot as AJ Kowal sliced through two Rochester United defenders and picked the top corner with a wrist shot from point blank range just 1:11 into the game.

But Rochester United would immediately respond with three consecutive goals. After Nick Marek tied the game with a blue line blast on the power play, Rochester United quickly added goals by Jimmy Pittel and Ryan Bradley to take a 3-1 lead with barely five minutes gone by. It wouldn’t last though as Clarkston battled back for a 4-3 lead on goals by Roman Reiner, Kyle Hogarth, and Jacob LaPorte to close a first period that saw the teams fire a total of 30 shots on net, many from wide open forwards right in front of the goals as neither team could find its defensive footing in the first period.

“This is a big ice surface, an Olympic ice surface. You can’t afford to be out of position and that’s what happened to us,” Krygier said. “I talked to them I said ok guys you play that position and you play it well. You know how to do, just do it. So they came together, started working as a team, and we took the momentum away from them and it paid off to our benefit.”

“Defensively we were absolutely terrible in the first period,” Rochester United head coach Craig Staskowski said. “We’re not going to win games when we play defense like that.”

Polish would pace the Wolves’ balanced attack on the night, chalking up a goal and three assists. Hogarth added a goal and two assists, while Joe Smith (a goal and an assist) and Austin Fullmer (two assists) both had multi-point nights for Clarkston as, 10 different Wolves picked up points. Rochester United also had 10 different players get a point, led by Max Harper and Drew Harm, who each had two assists. Michael Pelino also scored for Rochester United.

“I think it’s one of the reasons we have a better team this year than last year is that we’ve got guys who can score goals,” Staskowski said. “It’s unfortunate because the identity of our team, what we’ve done well so far this year and why we’ve been successful kind of just went out the window today.”

Rochester United falls to 5-3 overall and 1-1 in OAA Red. Next up for Rochester United is a home game against Mattawan tomorrow night. Clarkston improves to 5-7 overall and 1-2 in OAA Red heading into a long holiday break, as the Wolves don’t play again until after the New Year.

“I’m really proud of the boys. We needed this win. We’ve got a good team. We’ve been struggling lately, but maybe this is the turnaround for us for the second half of the season,” Krygier said.

Last Updated: 12/21/2012 1:31:38 AM EST

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