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HOCKEY: Allen Park gives thanks

Jaguars beat Woodhaven in holiday hockey tourney finals

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New Allen Park hockey Coach John Brithinee opened his high school career by watching his Jags win their annual Thanksgiving Showcase Tournament for the first time in 12 seasons.

On Friday night, Allen Park opened the tourney by besting Riverview 4-1.

They then came back and took the title by beating defending champ Woodhaven 6-2 on Saturday.

In the win over Riverview, Jaguar goals came from Travis Pippin, Steve Littleton and Nick Metropoulos, who scored the last goal of the night on an empty netter.

Riverview’s only goal came from Chris Hass, giving the Bucs a lead in the game for a short while. He was assisted by Brian Bachnak and Gerald Helstowski.

In Saturday’s championship, a scoreless first period was followed by a four-goal Allen Park outburst in the second and that carried the team to victory.

The scoring started when Alex Case received a pass from Steve Littleton and Nick Fulton near the net and banged the puck home.

Brandon Kilburg followed with a wrist shot to the top corner on a power play. It was his first high school goal.

Littleton then added a goal of his own – assisted by Kilburg – and Austin Schulta capped the second-period scoring with a short-handed goal after converting a cross ice pass.

Woodhaven got two third-period goals from Mike Williams, but Allen Park answered with two goals of its own to hold the Warriors at bay.

David Pischke intercepted a pass in the offensive zone and scored an unassisted goal to put the Jaguars up 5-2 and Littleton finished the scoring with an assist from Aaron Porter.

Veterans Porter and Thomas Snyder led the team the entire weekend after two players were injured in Friday’s game, according to Brithinee.

The loss of Richie Pinkowski and Jason Obrycki-Smith provided some challenges to the defensive unit, but the team was quick to respond.

According to the Allen Park coach, captain Thomas Snyder, Josh Haney, Nick Martinez, and rookies Chris Mann and Killburg stepped up to the challenge and played well all weekend.

In net, Jake Stoddard had a solid performance, stopping 28 of 29 shots against Riverview on Friday night and 20 of 22 shots against Woodhaven on Saturday.

“Being able to play well against two of Downriver’s powerhouses will hopefully provide some confidence in our team,” Brithinee said.

“We still have a lot of work in front of us (but) playing well shows the team that they can play with anyone and we can only grow from that.”

Woodhaven Coach Bryan Sullivan was less than thrilled with his team performance.

“We played well in the first period,” he said. “We just couldn’t get anything to go in. In the second and third periods we didn’t have much energy. We seemed to be fighting ourselves.”

Allen Park’s Snyder, Littleton, Metropoulos and Stoddard were all named to the all-tournament teams, as were Woodhaven’s Mike Williams and Matt Bederka.

Woodhaven reached the championship game with a 7-2 win over Carlson on opening night.

The Warriors scored in every period, including four times in the third.

High-scoring Dom Moore had two goals as did Matt Faremouth. Williams, Billy Brock and Alex Robinson each had goals.

Bederka, who was moved back to defense, had three assists and earned the praise of Sullivan.

“He sees the ice so well, that’s it’s always positive to have him out there,” Sullivan said.

Carlson’s two goals came from Drew Coleman, assisted by Ryan Holder and CJ Yacuone, assisted by Austin Bliznik.

“We had opportunities, we just couldn’t get it past their goalie,” Coach Dennis Gundick said.

The second period ended with Woodhaven up just 3-2.

“We felt pretty good about our game,” Gundick said. “We told our kids you’re playing one of the best teams Downriver and you’re holding them to one goal.”

Things fell apart with Woodhaven’s four-goal onslaught in the third.

In Saturday’s consolation game, Riverview beat Carlson 8-2.

Taurence said his team went back to basics and switched some things up with new lines and changed some forechecks.

“We weren’t clicking on all cylinders, but the kids worked quite hard,” Taurence said.

The Bucs played well during the first period but the game was scoreless after one.

Taurence played a different line combination in the second period and the Bucs ended it up 3-0.

“Things were going well in the second, so we stayed with the same in the third,” said Taurence, whose team scored five times in the third period.

Contributing to the Riverview win were Kyle Agius (two goals, one assist), David Laurain (one goal, one assist), Timmy Lyons (two goals), Alex Testy (two assists), Brian Bachnak (two goals, two assists), Tyler Bozynski (two assists), Shane Nowak (one goal), and Hoss (three assists).

Last Updated: 11/27/2012 12:49:46 PM EST