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HOCKEY: Rochester United wins share of OAA Red title

ROCHESTER – The Rochester United boys hockey team claimed a share of the OAA Red title and the No. 1 seed in the OAA Red playoff tournament with an emphatic 7-1 win over the Birmingham Unified Kings on Friday night.

“Give these guys credit. We had a great week of practice. When the season started we had goals, and one of the goals was to win the OAA Red, and I think they realized they were in the neighborhood. They can’t let an opportunity like this slip.” Rochester United head coach Craig Staskowski said.

Any thoughts that Rochester United might be looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown against rival Stoney Creek were dispelled early. Rochester United’s top line came out buzzing and it didn’t take long for them to open the scoring with Mike Pelino finding Brent Boudreau in the slot and Boudreau’s quick wrist shot made it 1-0 just 4:12 into the game. United would go on to out shoot the Kings, 15-4, in the period. Luke Brunson would add a pair of goals before the period was out, and Rochester United would take a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.

“We really came out good. I’m really happy with the way we played in the first period. I thought we set the tone for the game,” Staskowski said. Pelino led a varied United attack picking up five points on a goal and four assists.

Rochester would get contributions up and down the line up, however, as 10 different players registered at least a point. In addition to Pelino’s big night, Brunson and Boudreau each had two goals while Max Harper and Frank Scheff added one each.

“We haven’t lost since the New Year, and the biggest difference between our team before the New Year and after the New Year is that we were a one-line team the first two months of the season. Once we started to get balanced scoring, we’re getting scoring for sure from our second line. Our third line now is getting some goals for us, and it makes us a lot tougher team to play against,” Staskowski said.

Birmingham Unified’s best chance to get back in the game came early in the second period when the Kings were awarded a five-minute power play. But Kyler Patenaude made some key saves and Nick Marek cleared a puck that was trickling in the crease, and the Kings would go away empty handed.

“We struggled a little bit in the first half of the second (period), and then we got the penalty. It almost seemed like we got focused again,” Staskowski said.

Despite the loss, there were some bright spots for the Kings. Kenny Ohanlon scored the Kings’ lone goal late in the third period on a power play.

“The one good thing about our team is that you know the score board was looking ugly, but the middle of the third period we were still working hard, trying to do what we needed to do and working on power play and penalty kill, things that will hopefully send through for tomorrow night,” Kings head coach John Chateau said.

Rochester United (10-5-1) improves to 5-1 in OAA Red and will try to claim the outright regular season title tomorrow when it takes on Stoney Creek. Birmingham (9-6, 2-4 OAA Red) will try to rebound tomorrow when it hosts Oxford.

Last Updated: 1/25/2013 11:12:05 PM EST

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