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HOCKEY: Roundup Two

A wild second period highlighted the game between the Titans hockey team and the St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons on Wednesday night.

The Titans’ strong start and quick finish helped them close out SMCC by a final score of 5-3, but it was their ability to trade punches with the Falcons in the second period that won them the game.

Brandon Robert of Southgate scored the lone goal of the first period when an unforced SMCC turnover led to a quick breakaway score.

The Titans took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission and Titans Coach Pat Jesue said it was refreshing to get off to a quick start for a change.

“I thought we came out and started the way we wanted to and that has not been the case this season,” Jesue said. “We’ve been battling from behind a lot so starting with a lead was nice, but at the same time we have to play a full 51 minutes.”

Southgate’s fore-check imploded a bit in the second period when they allowed three goals, but they were able to roll with those punches and net three of their own.

The Titans scored two goals in 57 seconds, one by Brendon Kucharczyk and then another on a penalty shot by Bryan Bernier at the 8:40 point of the second period. SMCC responded by scoring two goals in thirteen seconds to all but erase Southgate’s three-goal lead in the blink of an eye.

With 5:13 remaining in the second, Dustin Crawford hopped out of the penalty box and grabbed a stray puck in stride. He was stopped on the breakaway but still got the assist, as Adam Ibach hammered home the rebound to make it 4-2 Southgate.

SMCC’s Patrick Nicholson capped off a wild offensive period when he scored a power play goal on a slap shot from the left circle. The score cut the Titans’ lead to just 4-3 heading into the second intermission and was SMCC’s second power play goal of the period.

“We have to stay out of the box,” Jesue said of the penalties. “I think we gave up five shots on one of the power plays. That’s something we’re definitely working on; keeping these guys’ heads on straight.”

Southgate’s shaky penalty kill got put to the test promptly in the third period but they were up for the challenge, surviving an SMCC 5-on-3 attack early in the third. And with 7:32 left in the game, Bernier put the nail in SMCC’s coffin, scoring his second goal of the night on a rebound assisted by Casimer Wieleba.

Titans’ goalie Dominic Alderman stopped 17 shots in the win. Southgate scored five times on 25 shot attempts.

Now 2-2, the Titans will hit the road to face the same SMCC team next Wednesday, this time at their place in Monroe. Coach Jesue said he’s looking forward to the rematch.

“This one got a little heated so that one is going to be fun. I also found out we’re playing them again in a Christmas tournament later on in December so that’ll be three games in under a month. They always have a light bench but always make up for it with a lot of energy.

“Our guys know we can’t take anything for granted and we can’t take them lightly next time out.”

Rice tops Trojans

The Trenton hockey team has played well against some of the powerful teams in the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League this season, but not well enough to knock off one of the big shots.

That trend continued last Saturday as the Trojans fell 5-3 to Birmingham Brother Rice.

“We viewed that game as a chance to put ourselves back among the group of really good teams,’ said Coach Mike Turner. “But we did not play very well and it was disappointing.”

Trenton scored first but eventually fell behind 4-1 in the third period.

Mitch Galea, who has been a scoring whiz this season, scored the first and third Trenton goals. Quinn Preston had the other. Galea also had an assists and Conor Cunningham and Andrew Sawyer had two assists each.

A week ago the Trojans bombed visiting Roosevelt 7-0. The Trojans outshot the Bears 40-13.

Galea and Justin Dunn each had two goals for the winners. Dunn had three assists for a five-point night and Galea had one assist.

Preston and Phil Pugliese had the other Trenton goals.

Trenton hosts Livonia Churchill tonight and Woodhaven on Saturday.

ULS beats Warriors

The Woodhaven hockey team tasted defeat for the first time this season and it came in the form of a 4-2 loss to Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett in the Warriors’ home-opener a week ago.

Woodhaven, which dropped to 4-1 with the loss, led twice in the game but could not hold off the talented Knights.

“Our kids played hard,” said Woodhaven Coach Bryan Sullivan, “but Liggett is a very skilled team. I was happy with the way we hung with them.”

The game was one of contrasting styles, according to Sullivan, whose Warriors play a straight-forward, north-south style game, while the Knights rely more on speed and puck movement.

The Grosse Pointe attack begins in its own end and Sullivan said it is clear where the team’s strength lie.

“They have four of the best defensemen I have seen,” he said. “They are mobile and quick and they excel at making that first pass out of their own zone.”

Woodhaven got on the board first in the contest when Dominic Moore notched a first period goal. Yousef Suede and Alex Robinson assisted.

Later Robinson broke a 1-1 tie when he scored from Suede and Moore.

Liggett scored a disputed goal to take a 3-2 lead in the second period and Woodhaven was dealt another blow when a late second-period goal of theirs was waved off.

Liggett capped the scoring with the lone third-period goal.

Steven Hurley started in goal for the Warriors and Sullivan said he played a strong game.

Woodhaven gets back to work tonight when it hosts Salem. On Saturday, the team goes to Trenton

Busy GI wins

The Grosse Ile hockey team was busy last week and the hard worked paid off when the Red Devils won two of three games.

Over the weekend the team visited Crestwood and knocked off the Chargers 5-2.

Grosse Ile took a three goal lead before Crestwood got on board for a 3-1 score after the first period. The second period was scoreless and the Devils added two in the final period to Crestwood’s one for the win.

Steve Plyler led the team with two goals and Alec Pflum finished the night with a goal and two assists.

Bob Bialobrzeski and Dean Ziberi had a goal each and John Gatti had two assists.

Coach Jason Durbin was pleased with his team’s performance on the ice.

The Red Devils played strong throughout the contest and stayed out of the box, only taking two penalties.

Two nights earlier it was all Grosse Ile as the Red Devils knocked off Monroe Unified 7-0.

Ziberi had a hat trick to lead the team and other scoring came from Avery Swain, Bialobrzeski, Brandon Lippert and Jake Ketelhut.

The Red Devils went on eight power plays and three resulted in goals as Avery, Dean and Bialobrzeski each found the back of the net during the one-man advantage.

Garrett Jakunskas had three assists on the night and sophomore goalie Jordan Gilbert got the shutout.

Grosse Ile out shot its opponent 50-15 en route to the victory.

“I thought we played well (and) finally put three good periods together,” Durbin said about the win. “What we’ve been working on is having a little more patience with the puck, rather than this being a ping pong table out there on the ice where as soon as you get it, you hit it.”

Durbin said it was an all around team effort in the win.

“We had a lot of people contribute,” he said. “The power play worked well, our goaltending was solid.

“They didn’t have many chances, but the ones they did he (Gilbert) came out and stopped.”

The week started with a tough 8-1 loss to Chelsea.

Despite the score, the team did take a few positives away from the loss.

It was a scoreless game after the opening period as each team hung with the other.

Chelsea took a 4-0 lead in the second period before Grosse Ile was able to get on the scoreboard.

The lone Red Devil goal came from Dean Ziberi. Dominic Trombley had the assist.

Penalties ultimately troubled the team once again and the Red Devils took seven to Chelsea’s two.

Thomas Rofe started in net for the Red Devils. Jordan Gilbert took over at the seven minute mark of the second period, Durbin put Rofe back in to finish things out and said it was his game to finish.

Despite the loss, Durbin said it was not a blowout situation.

“We played very well in the first, second period we got away from it and third period we came back and regrouped,” he said. “Unfortunately we had a couple of defensive breakdowns and they capitalized.”

Durbin said he did not want his team to give up and said they did not and had a good effort in the third period.

“We had some opportunities, we just need to work on putting the puck in the back of the net,” he said.

Chelsea out shot Grosse Ile 24-18 in the contest.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t come out on top,” Durbin said. “Chelsea did and my hats off to them.

“They came in and did what they needed to do.”

As the team moves forward, Durbin is reminding them to take the positives and only look ahead.

“We’re gonna take the positives out of this game and we’re gonna move forward,” he said. “You can’t look in the past. (I told them) let’s take the positives out of it and we’ll apply it to Thursday’s game. As long as we give the same effort and energy level, we’ll be okay.

“The energy level was definitely there, we just had some defensive breakdowns. We’ll regroup and I look for better things to happen on Thursday.”

Overall, Durbin is pleased with the upward path of his team as the season progresses.

Ziberi leads the team with seven goals in eight games. The only game he did not have a goal in, he recorded an assist.

Durbin’s also happy with the play of Swain, Kelyler, Jakunskas, Lippert, Gatti and Marino Moccia.

“We’re seeing gradual improvement,” he said. “For us, that’s exciting. We’re on a little bit of a roll right now.”

The team takes on Crestwood tonight and will travel to the Gaylord tournament over the weekend.

At the tournament they will see Cheboygan in the first game and Flint Powers in the second, both of whom are ranked in the top-20 in the state in Division 3.

As the team moves forward they look to just continue having patience with the puck and working on entering the zone.

Sports writers Samantha Elliott and Hank Minckiewicz contributed

Last Updated: 12/10/2013 1:26:22 PM EST

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