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HOCKEY: Overtime goal from Meyers leads Troy past Stevenson WITH VIDEO

FRASER – The Troy Colts fought off a determined Stevenson Titans squad to earn a hard fought 3-2 overtime victory in the opening round of the MHSAA boys hockey playoffs.

D.J. Meyers got the game winner with 2:08 left in the first overtime when he followed Bob Urban’s shot and chipped in the rebound over a sprawled Matt Bognar to send the Colts pouring onto the ice in victory.

“It was a fun win,” Troy head coach Tim Zimmerman said. “We just lost an overtime game on Friday (to Romeo). I just said, ‘Hey we’ve been here before. We’ve played four overtime periods, so we know what to do. We just have to get the puck in deep, and put some pressure on them.”

"Any time you lose in overtime it’s tough. This game came down to one lucky bounce, and in the end that’s what a lot of games come down to,” Titans head coach Alan Korolewicz said. “Overall, I was really happy with their performance,” he added.

The game’s momentum swung back and forth several times in this seesaw affair, aided in part by a rash of penalties to both teams, particularly in the second period. And while the power play units combined to go just 1 for 16, each team was able to generate enough offense on the power plays to shift the momentum back to their side for a time. “It was a choppy game because there were so many penalties, so many power plays,” Zimmerman said. “It was hard to get into the flow, but once the penalties settled down, once it started the flow going, I thought we played better.”

The Titans put up a brave fight while being down to just 12 available players. “We were really shorthanded today. We knew it was going to be tough, but we still felt we had a good opportunity, and all you can ask for is to be tied going into overtime,” Korolewicz said.

The Colts had jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period by driving the net and getting traffic in the slot early and often. Meyers opened the scoring just under four minutes into the game when he took a pass from Conor Victor in the slot, pivoted and fired a hard shot that ripped into the back of the net from close range to give the Colts the lead. About four minutes later, Urban poked home a rebound of a shot by Meyers for a power play goal, and the Colts seemed in command.

“That’s our guy,” Zimmerman said of Meyers. “You’ve got to give the kid credit. He’s a great hockey player.”

“We had about a four and a half minute span in the first period where they really out played us, and they scored two goals in that span,” Korolewicz said. “After that we settled down a little bit.”

But the Titans would fight back. Dino Balsamo was a constant scoring threat on the night and netted both Stevenson goals. First, he earned a penalty shot late in the first period when he was taken down on a breakaway. He then converted it with a slippery deke as he out waited goaltender Michael Fisher before roofing the puck to make it 2-1 at the break. Balsamo then tied the score with 53 seconds to play in the second period with a hard wrist shot from the corner that snuck in through a crowd of bodies.

“He had a great year,” Korolewicz said of Balsamo. “He had a great game today.”

Meanwhile, the Stevenson defense had clamped down. After getting beaten to some early rebounds, the Titans’ defenders were winning all the similar battles from the second period on, helping out goaltender Matt Bognar who piled up 40 saves to frustrate the Colts for 49 minutes of hockey before Meyers’ game winner.

“Our defense had some struggles early in the season, but tonight they beared down and only allowed a couple of goals. That’s all we can ask out of them,” Korolewicz said.

At the other end, Troy goaltender Michael Fisher also put in a strong performance with 28 saves. “I’ve got to give Michael Fisher some credit. Those first two periods, he really stood on his head when he had to, and he’s been playing progressively better and better,” Zimmerman said.

With the win, Troy moves on to play cross town rival Troy Athens in the pre-regional final on Wednesday.

Stevenson finishes the year 10-16. The Titans had a young squad this year and will bring back almost the entire team. “As a whole, we’re very young. We only have two seniors, so it’s a good core group. It’ll be interesting to see what this group looks like next year,” Korolewicz said. “Overall, it was a good season for us.”

Last Updated: 2/26/2013 2:21:51 AM EST

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