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HOCKEY: Five third-period goals propel Farmington to win over Lakeland WITH VIDEO

FARMINGTON HILLS — Farmington needed a win entering Wednesday’s game against Lakeland.

The Falcons had only produced one win in its last six games until tonight.

Farmington got that elusive win thanks in large part to a five-goal third period that propelled the Falcons to a 7-4 win over Lakeland at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena.

“We finally got back to the type of hockey we’re used to playing in the third,” Farmington head coach Mark Vellucci said. “We started to crash and burn and really take it to (Lakeland) down the stretch.”

Entering the third period the Falcons were down 3-2 when Vellucci challenged his players with the message to “earn pucks and get the win,” a challenge that junior Drake Cole took to heart.

“(Drake) has really stepped up this year,” Vellucci said. “He didn’t play at all last year, but he really motored for us all night. Since he took a year off, he’s starting to get his hockey legs back and doing what he’s supposed to do.

“He’s a hard nosed, physical player. He’s got a great shot, and he was a key player in tonight’s game.”

About four minutes into the final stanza Cole deflected a shot fired by junior defenseman Grant Newman high in the slot to tie the game at 3-3. A minute and a half later Cole would find the back of the net after taking a pass from Austin Meltzer and lifting it past senior Cody Crafts for a 4-3 lead.

The Falcons would strike again down a man with four minutes left in the third period when junior forward Nick Heffron incepted a pass and created a short handed two-on-one. Nick Gensheimer took the cross-ice pass and delivered a backhand past Crafts for a 5-3 lead.

After the Eagles (8-7-3) scored a controversial goal by Seth Farmer who appeared to kick the puck into the net, Farmington quickly answered to put the game out of reach.

With 2:28 left in the third, Heffron found Cooper McLean crashing the net for an easy tap in goal for a 6-4 lead. Marc Nahat earned an unassisted empty net goal with four seconds remaining to cap the game at 7-4.

To Lakeland head coach Tim Ronayne the game came down to his team’s mental toughness after Farmington scored the game in the third.

“We lack mental toughness.” Ronayne said. “We didn’t fight through a check. We had players getting caught up in the moment with some penalties. There were opportunities left all over the ice, and we didn’t use them.”

Assistant coach Ronn Walsh went on to add that there was a notable difference in the engery between the first two periods and the third.

“We had to step it up,” Walsh said. “I knew we had another gear in us and we didn’t use it. Our kids had flashes of energy tonight, and put a shift or two together and then it’d fall apart (in the third).”

The Eagles got on the board first with just 2.6 seconds remaining in the first period when senior forward Trent Lloyd corralled the puck behind Farmington’s zone. As he turned around, Llyod found senior forward Kyle Jakubowski sitting in front who connected on a point blank one timer for his tenth goal of the year, which gave Lakeland a 1-0 lead.

Farmington tied it midway through the second period when senior defensemen D.J. Rankin fired a shot that Crafts turned away. The rebound squirted through his legs and Heffron tapped it in to tie the game at 1-1.

Lakeland took the lead right back a minute and a half later with after senior defensemen Jake Riutta fired a cross-ice pass from the corner to junior forward Justin Pahl who tapped it in for a 2-1 lead. Pahl would score again 2:13 seconds later on a short-handed goal to make it 3-1 before Nahat would cut into the deficit and make it 3-2 with 4:20 left in the second period.

Farmington will participate in the OAA/MAC Showcase where it hopes to build off its success on Saturday against Utica at 2:00 p.m.

Lakeland takes on Walled Lake Northern on Friday in a KLAA North match-up.

Last Updated: 1/31/2013 2:34:34 PM EST

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