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HOCKEY: Second-period spurt propels Birmingham Unified past West Bloomfield WITH VIDEO

BLOOMFIELD HILLS – For the most part, West Bloomfield and Birmingham Unified battled each other tooth and nail Thursday night, exchanging ample amounts of body checks, great saves and scoring opportunities for 51 minutes.

For the most part.

The difference was a seven-minute stretch early in the second period, a stretch which saw the Kings blow open a scoreless game with three unanswered goals. That proved to be the difference in Birmingham’s 4-1 victory at Wallace Arena in Bloomfield Hills.

Junior forward Tommy McLeod kicked things off, breaking a scoreless tie with his sixth goal of the season, less than two minutes into the second period. That got things rolling for the Kings, which struck twice, back-to-back, seven minutes later.

Senior co-captain Adam Susalla took a pass from assistant captain, senior Zach Tayler, and skated in past the defense, drew the goalie out, deked to his left before going right and scoring the goal. It gave his team a 2-0 lead with 8:25 left in the period.

Without warning, and just 29 seconds later, junior forward Luke Braun made it 3-0, poking in a rebound off a shot by McLeod.

“We had a couple good lines that have worked real hard and were cycling the puck and we were able to get some opportunities on the net,” Birmingham coach John Chateau said after the game.

West Bloomfield coach Steve Kuza wasn’t disappointed with his team’s effort, but admitted it had its chances in the scoreless first before giving up those three early goals in the second.

“In that first period, the game really could have tilted in our direction,” Kuza said. “I just thought we made a couple mistakes in the second period and, boom, you’re down 3-0. Guys get down real quick. But we were able to stop that.”

The Lakers did stop the bleeding, and quick. Sean Wigler took a pass from Anton Marinelli, skated it up ice and delivered a pass to J.J. Bloom, who was initially stuffed by Birmingham goalie Jacob Saroli. The puck froze right in front of the net before being poked in by Wigler to make it a 3-1 game with 6:20 left in the second.

It stayed that way until Birmingham’s Kenneth O’Hanlon took a pass from McLeod and beat the Lakers’ goalie to make it 4-1 and seal the victory for the Kings (9-4 overall).

“I think it was a very well-matched game, and a good game,” Chateau said. “You had two good teams that were well coached and their goaltender played terrific, stopped a lot of our shots. It was a good game, all-around.”

Despite the 4-1 loss, Kuza wasn’t upset at all.

“I was very happy with the effort,” said Kuza, whose team fell to 5-8 after the loss. “I was pretty happy. That was a pretty good Birmingham team and I think we played pretty well.”

The Kings will host Lake Orion Saturday at the Birmingham Ice Arena, beginning at 8:30 p.m. The Lakers are also hosting, at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Ice Arena, Saturday at 7:30 p.m. They’ll welcome in Troy Athens in a game which will benefit the “Officer Patrick O’Rourke Family Trust.”

Jason Schmitt covers high school hockey for The Oakland Press. Email him at jason.schmitt@oakpress.com, read his "In The Zone" blog here and follow our high school hockey coverage on Twitter @MIPrepZone.



BIRMINGHAM UNIFIED 4, WEST BLOOMFIELD 1

WB 0 1 0 - 1

BU 0 3 1 - 4

FIRST PERIOD: None

SECOND PERIOD: 1, BU, Tommy McLeod (Kenneth O'Hanlon); 2, BU, Adam Susalla (Zach Tayler, Conner Liddle; 3, BU, Luke Braun (McLeod, O'Hanlon); 4, WB, Sean Wigler (Anton Marinelli, J.J. Bloom)

THIRD PERIOD: 5, BU, O'Hanlon (McLeod, Braun)

Last Updated: 1/18/2013 12:01:14 PM EST

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