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Woodhaven goalie Trevor Monaco backstopped his team to a 4-2 win over Grosse Pointe South Wednesday night. With the win the Warriors wrapped up the West Division and overall titles in the Michigan Metro Hockey Conference. Photo by Larry Caruso

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HOCKEY: Woodhaven wins Michigan Metro Hockey League championship(PHOTO)

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Despite missing key players to illness and injury, the Woodhaven hockey team manned up and beat visiting Grosse Pointe South 4-2 Wednesday night to clinch the Michigan Metro Hockey League championship.

The Warriors were without playmaker Matt Bederka, who broke his hand against Southgate the game before, and without senior assistant captain Eric Long, who was sidelined with the flu.

Two other Warriors also played while battling the flu and still Coach Bryan Sullivan’s team came out on top in its biggest game of the season.

“They came out and earned it,” said Sullivan after the game. “The thing that impressed me was that we had to put together all new lines, we didn’t have a chance to practice and they went out and played well, real well.”

The Warriors scored first in the game and never trailed.

The teams matched each other nearly shot-for-shot through the first periods, but the Woodhaven defense and Warrior goalie Trevor Monaco held the Blue Devils at bay.

It was 1-1 after the first period and 3-1 after two as Monaco stopped 17 of 18 shots.

The Warriors scored their three goals on an equal number of shots.

The goal that turned out to be the game-winner fittingly came off the stick of leading scorer Mike Williams.

The senior sniper slapped away the puck while killing a penalty, outraced the Grosse Pointe defense to the puck and flipped in a backhand for a 3-1 Warrior lead.

The game got tighter in the third when the Warriors were hit with three minor penalties in a row. In all, the Warriors had to kill more than five straight minutes of penalty time, including 1:08 of a five-on-three.

They were almost perfect, but Grosse Pointe South scored at 6:49 of the period, just as the five-on-three expired.

The Blue Devils pressed the issue over the last five minutes of the game, especially in the final minute with their goalie pulled.

But the Warriors defense did a great job of forcing shots from the perimeter, getting to rebounds and blocking shots. The shots that did get on net were handled by Monaco.

With the game clock ticking down, senior Cody Hastings knocked loose the puck while forechecking hard. His shot bounced off a Grosse Pointe player’s stick and went into the goal to seal the deal for the Warriors.

Woodhaven opened the scoring early in the first period when Jake Swindle slapped at a puck in the high slot and it flew past the Grosse Pointe goalie.

Grosse Point tied the game about a minute later on a jam-in goal from the side of the Woodhaven net.

But early in the second period Woodhaven took the lead for good.

The goal came at the 5:46 mark and Billy Brock got the credit, but the hard work was done by Dominic Moore.

Moore fought off a Grosse Point defenseman along the boards, angled to the net and then fired a pass past another defender for a slam dunk to Brock who was left unattended in the low slot.

The win left Woodhaven with a final league record of 11-1-1. The Warriors finished with 23 points, six clear of Ann Arbor Pioneer in the West Division and ahead of both Grosse Pointe South and Dearborn Divine Child – the only league team to beat Woodhaven this season – in the overall standings.

DC stills has two games to play, but even with two wins the best the Falcons can do is 22 points.

Woodhaven goes to Grosse Ile for its last regular-season game of the year Friday and begins the MHSAA pre-regional tournament Tuesday night against Roosevelt.

Last Updated: 2/22/2013 12:02:26 PM EST