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HOCKEY: Stoney Creek edges Farmington Hills Unified WITH VIDEO

Stoney Creek’s Cam Scharret (12) battles Farmington United’s Alex Minasian (22) for the puck during the first period of the OAA Red semi final played on Saturday Feb. 16, 2013 at Birmingham Ice Arena. Stoney Creek beat Farmington United, 5-4. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)

Stoney Creek’s Derek Fox (28) moves the puck up ice as Farmington United’s Adam Fine (18) follows the play during the second period of the OAA Red semi final played on Saturday Feb. 16, 2013 at Birmingham Ice Arena. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)

Farmington United’s Nic Demchuk (15) shoots the puck as Stoney Creek’s Sean Rewold (27) defends during the first period of the OAA Red semi final played on Saturday Feb. 16, 2013 at Birmingham Ice Arena. Stoney Creek beat Farmington United 5-4. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)

Stoney Creek’s Tyler Ducharme (10) looks to move the puck moves past Farmington United’s Frank Zak (5) during the second period of the OAA Red semi final played on Saturday Feb. 16, 2013 at Birmingham Ice Arena. (Special to the Oakland Press/KEN SWART)

BIRMINGHAM – The Stoney Creek Cougars came from behind in the third period to pick up a 5-4 victory over the Farmington Hills Unified Flyers and advance to the OAA Red boys hockey title game next Saturday.

“It was a good game all around. They (Farmington Hills Unified) are one heck of a hockey team,” Cougars head coach Ian Smith said.

Trailing 4-3 entering the third period, Stoney Creek tied the game midway through the period on a power play goal by Josh Niederhauser. The game winner came with just 3:24 left in the third period when Grant Jubb chipped the puck out of Stoney Creek’s end and into the neutral zone. Ian Lustilla picked it up at center, skated down the right side and fired a hard shot just under the crossbar.

The game was an energetic, back and forth affair that saw Farmington Hills Unified out shoot Stoney Creek in every period. But Stoney Creek had plenty of chances as well with the action moving up and down the ice and each team giving as good as they got.

“Hockey is high tempo, high paced, and a lot of things going on. Everyone’s involved. That’s what you’re going to get when everyone’s working hard,” Flyers head coach Ken Anderson said.

“This game had a little bit of everything, up and down, fast paced,” Smith said.

Still, for two periods the Flyers were able to translate their advantage in shots into an advantage on the scoreboard thanks to a lethal power play that scored three times in the first two periods led by T.J. Zak, Eamon Devlin, and Eric Stanis who each had two points on the power play.

“We were moving it around good and getting the right shots, getting some good looks and it was finally going in for us,” Anderson said.

But in the third period, the Cougars made some adjustments and were able to shut down Flyers power play in the final period, holding the Flyers power play off the board in three tries, including a final 6-4 power play with the goaltender pulled in the last 1:53 of the game.

It was Zak who gave Farmington Hills Unified their first lead of the game, late in the first period. After Jacob Lynn had opened the scoring for Stoney Creek, Zak went to work first tying the score with a power play goal, then 24 seconds later putting the Flyers ahead when he steamed down the left side and stepped into a slap shot that rocketed into the top corner of the net making it 2-1 Flyers with 3:03 left in the first period.

Overall, assistant captains Zak and Stanis each tallied two goals and an assist for the Flyers. Stoney Creek got a bit more balance offensively with five different players scoring, including goals by Dan Durst and Cam Scharret in the second period.

The game was delayed for nearly 30 minutes late in the second period due to an unfortunate injury to Flyers forward Kyle Witherspoon after he crashed awkwardly into the boards.

“I hope their player is alright,” Smith said. “I watched video of that in between periods, and it just looked like two guys coming together hard, and it was awkward. But I hope he’s okay. I hope the best for him,” Smith said.

When the game finally resumed, both teams came back out flying after the rest period and exchanged goals almost immediately with Stoney Creek tying the score on Durst’s goal just 41 seconds after play resumed, but the Flyers got it right back on a power play goal by Stanis less than two minutes later setting the stage for Stoney Creek’s comeback in the third period.

With the win, Stoney Creek moves on to the final where they will take on either Rochester or Clarkston for the OAA Red Playoff Championship next Saturday night.

“To our guys credit, they kept fighting. That’s a team win. We’ve been playing good hockey the last two months, and we’ve been doing it as a unit,” Smith said. “It was a fun game. We move on, and we’re ready to play for the league championship.”

Farmington Hills Unified will play in the third place game next Saturday. Both games will be at the Detroit Skating Center.

Last Updated: 2/17/2013 12:42:56 PM EST

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