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HOCKEY: Jags are cruising right along; hold 4-1 record

A season ago, David Pischke lost part of his year to mono. This year, you would never know.

The senior had six goals and three assists in just five games this season to lead the Jags with nine points.

A week ago he propelled his team to a 3-2 victory over Ann Arbor Pioneer by accounting for all of the scoring.

Allen Park was down 1-0 after the first shift when Pioneer knocked one home off a rebound but quickly turned things around.

“After that I thought we turned the play on them pretty quickly,” Allen Park Coach John Brithinee said. “We started getting the puck deep on them and I thought, carrying the play.”

Pischke knocked two goals in during the opening period for a 2-1 lead after 17 minutes.

“I think we were a little out of sorts in the beginning of the game,” Brithinee said. “As soon as we were able to get a break and get our feet under us, I thought we played a fairly decent game.”

The teams were scoreless in the second and the Jags started the third by killing off a penalty, but 10 seconds after Pioneer was back to full strength the Pioneers went wide and took a shot from the top of the circle for a tied game.

The score remained tied until the four minute mark of the third period when Pischke stole a cross-ice pass and buried a shot to the top corner for the hat trick.

“Dave had a wonderful game,” Brithinee said. “He’s shooting the puck well (and) skating well.”

Two nights later the Jags went into the matchup with Richard, knowing the Pioneers were a tough team, but left happy.

Allen Park won the game 4-2.

The first period was an up and down battle with no big scoring chances for either team.

The Jags capitalized when Toph Mann took the puck off the wall and got it to Pischke who made a D to D pass to Jason Obrycki-Smith who let the slap shot go for a 1-0 lead.

“We look for him to be a defensive shutdown type defenseman,” Brithinee said. “Anything we get out of him is a definite bonus. He absolutely shot a laser to the top corner from the blue line. It was a great shot and a good way for us to start.”

Allen Park extended its lead early in the second when Nick Metropoulos shot one over to Nick Fulton who put it away. Grand Brandimore was also credited with an assist.

The Pioneers kept coming at Allen Park and six minutes later the work paid off when Brendan Damron knocked one in to put the game within one.

But with four minutes to go, Metropoulos added a goal to his assist, off a draw.

“It was probably the quickest goal you’re gonna see off a faceoff,” Brithinee said. “It was a faceoff to the side of the net (and) Nick poked through the guys leg and grabbed it from behind him and snapped it in.

“It was a beautiful goal.”

The Jags took the two-goal cushion into the final period, but Brithinee knew one bounce of the puck could easily tie things up.

They got an insurance goal five and a half minutes into the final period when Metropoulos found Fulton who shot a one-timer, point blank that Richard’s goalie never had a chance on.

Richard added a goal with four minutes to go when Michael Hodgson found the back of the net, but Allen park held on for the win.

The Jags are a senior-heavy team, but on Dec. 4 it was all underclassmen in the team’s 7-4 victory over Ann Arbor Huron.

Allen Park was down 3-1 late in the second before things turned around.

Sophomores Nik Francis and Bobby Salerno teamed up for Francis’ first high school goal.

But the Jags weren’t done there and added three more first-time goals.

Three and a half minutes into the final perid, Francis was on the ice when Salerno got his first high school goal and just seven seconds later, Alec Keck got his first high school goal to give Allen Park a 4-3 advantage.

Less than two minutes later Mike Szalai knocked in his first high school goal and it was a much different game.

The win was also more special as sophomore goalie Sean Stevens got his first high school win of the season, stopping 22 shots on the night.

“That game right there, it just seemed like we couldn’t generate any type of offense and all of the sudden, my two freshmen and sophomores just took control every time my lines went out on the ice,” Brithinee said. “On the bench, our upper classmen were all getting fired up and there was a lot of energy on the bench that the young group of guys started getting together.

“It was a great, great game. I walked out of there with a big smile on my face.”

The Jags are now 4-1 on the season and Brithinee says his team is right about where they hoped they would be.

“Some of that coming together as a team is starting to come around and that’s important,” he said. “That’s one of the intangibles you’ve gotta have if you’re looking to make a run later in February.”

Brithinee says he is especially pleased with the way the older players are mentoring the younger guys as the season goes on.

The Jags host Dearborn Divine Child tonight and will stay at home Saturday to take on Dearborn Unified.

Last Updated: 12/17/2013 2:55:26 PM EST

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