Lake Orion Goalie Logan Aldrich makes a pad save against Rochester United’s Max Harper (22) during the first period of the game played on Thursday Jan. 10, 2013 at The Detroit Skate Club. Rochester United defeated Lake Orion 2-1. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Hockey - Boys
HOCKEY: Rochester United squeaks out 2-1 win over Lake Orion
Rochester United’s Ryan Bradley (13) fires a shot as Lake Orion’s Jake Briskey (5) defends during the first period of the game played on Thursday Jan. 10, 2013 at The Detroit Skate Club. Rochester United beat Lake Orion 2-1. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Rochester United’s Frank Scheff (18) looks to move around Lake Orion’s David Otto (8) during the first period of the game played on Thursday Jan. 10, 2013 at The Detroit Skate Club. Rochester United defeated the Dragons 2-1. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Lake Orion’s Nolan Page (14) goes to the backhand to try and get past Rochester United defensemen Joe Marino (7) during the second period of the game played on Thursday Jan. 10, 2013 at The Detroit Skate Club. Lake Orion lost the game 2-1. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Although it may not have appeared as impressive as last weekend’s 10-goal outpouring against Oxford, Rochester United’s scrappy road win against Lake Orion on Thursday night certainly will look identical in the standings.
Behind a steady stream of offensive chances and an early third-period goal that would prove to be the decider, United pulled out a 2-1 victory over the host Dragons.
“This was a big win for us,” Rochester United’s coach Craig Staskowski said. “Any win in this league is a big win. It helps us move toward the top of the standings, which is always good.”
Defensemen Zack Decker played hero for Rochester United, notching the first goal of his high school career with 15:05 left to play. Decker’s game-winning tally broke a 1-1 tie and came off a shot from the point that went through about five bodies before trickling through the goalie’s pads.
“We had some pressure on them,” Staskowski said while describing the goal. “It came out to him, and he really just stepped into one and it found the back of the net.”
With the slim one-goal lead, United’s defense locked down, not allowing for many good chances from Lake Orion. The Dragons mustered just six shots in the third period.
“I thought it was a pretty evenly fought game,” Lake Orion coach Nick Field said. “It’s tough to lose ones like this. I thought the kids put the effort in, but it’s just one of those nights.”
Staskowski pointed out what he thought was going to be the key to securing a win against the talented Lake Orion team. With just a period left to play and the game tied, he kept his talk to the boys simple.
“In the locker room before the third, we knew that we had to just come out and give maximum effort,” Staskowski said. “Playing on this big ice, you can’t be caught chasing. And I thought we did a good job of clogging the front of the net and forcing shots from out wide.”
Along with Decker, Jimmy Pittel scored for Rochester United. His second-period goal would tie the game and come just 25 seconds after Lake Orion broke the scoreless affair.
“Our offense has been clicking,” Staskowski said. “We got slowed up a little bit tonight, but hopefully, we’ll keep up the scoring.”
The Dragons’ lone goal came off the stick of Jordan Stross. His goal, similar to Decker’s game-winner, came from the point and appeared to be stopped before slowly escaping through the pads of Lake Orion’s goalie.
Playing in net for Lake Orion was Logan Aldrich. The first-year starter made 33 saves for the Dragons, who fall to 0-1-2 in the OAA Red Division.
“I thought their goalie did a good job to help keep them in it,” Staskowski said of Aldrich. “I thought we had some plays where we did enough to score, but he was able to come up with the stop.”
Though he wasn’t tested as much, United’s goalie, Brody Blair, came up with some key stops late in the game and made 19 saves on the night.
Rochester United improves to 3-1 in the OAA Red has its sights set on a matchup with league-leading Farmington on Saturday.
Staskowski and his team have aspirations of capturing a league title, and United has put itself in a good position but still know that it’s a battle every night.
“All eight teams in this league can play,” he said. “Our goal from the beginning of the season has been to win the (OAA) Red. We obviously want to make a deep run in the playoffs, but we’re looking at the league right now.”