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HOCKEY: Big second period lifts Pioneers over Bucs

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At the end of the first period, Richard Coach Ricky DeSana wasn’t very pleased.

His team was tied 1-1 with Riverview, but had big scoring opportunities that were not capitalized on.

At the end of the second it was a much different story. The Pioneers had a 4-1 lead and skated away with a 5-1 victory.

“I thought in the first period, they beat us to loose pucks and we didn’t make very good decisions and just turned the puck over and created a lot of scoring opportunities for them,” DeSana said. “We need to work on more special teams in practice and that showed.”

During the first period, Riverview took a handful of penalties and Richard found itself on a five-on-three power play for 1:16, but could not capitalize. With 4:27 left to play in the opening period, Riverview was called for checking from behind that resulted in a five-minute major and 10-minute game misconduct.

The Bucs stood tall, winning most of the defensive faceoffs and quickly clearing the puck.

Richard had chances, but could not capitalize until the opening seconds of the second period.

Brandon Damron got his night started with the power play goal and what would end up being the game-winner.

The Pioneers quickly took control and added two more goals before the period was up.

“All I did after the first period was reinforce them they were a good hockey team and that they can play better than they did and it was in their hands,” DeSana said. “I was happy that we rebounded after not playing a good first period and played a good second and third period against a good team.”

Richard started to pull away less than four minutes later. The team was on a penalty kill after being called for roughing and as the penalty expired, Michael Hodgson sent a cross ice pass to Damron coming out of the box and Damron put it away to the lower left corner for a 3-1 lead.

The teams battled back and forth and Richard’s Christian Spangler came up big on a few Riverview scoring chances.

On the offensive side of things, it was Richard who struck again.

Adding to his earlier assist, Hodgson was in front of the net in a scramble and capitalized, putting it past Zach Millisor.

John Ames and Damron had the assists.

Five minutes into the third Hodgson added his second of the night with a backhand flip over the blocker side to cap the night’s scoring.

Riverview, trying to get a burst of offense, pulled its goalie with 8:12 left to play when the Bucs were on the power play, but could not capitalize.

“We do that quite a bit and it works in most cases,” Riverview Coach Al Taurence said. “Sometimes they score on us, but if we’re down by four, what’s five?

“It catches the other team off guard. They’re always trying to throw a puck down at the net and a lot of times we get that puck in the middle and put it down.”

Richard was called for a double minor (slashing, roughing) and Riverview pulled its goalie once again. Riverview was called for a penalty seconds later, and just after Richard got another. It was a burst of scrambling from each team but the score held up through the final buzzer.

Early on in the game, Riverview took the first lead just three minutes in when Chris Hass got one through after a scrum in front of the net with help from Dalton Sutherland and James Lambert.

Three and a half minutes later, Richard’s Jack Skrzynski tied things up on a breakaway for his first high school goal.

Jonathon Rhind and John Louria had the assists.

DeSana was pleased with his team’s efforts in the win, and was especially happy with the play of Spangler, a sophomore goalie and the line of Ames, Damron and Hodgson.

Taurence was taking many positives away from the game, despite the loss; one being the big penalty killing in the opening period.

“We work on that quite a bit,” he said. “We teach a different penalty kill than most teams. We force everything because it’s hard to stick five good players on the ice at one time that can handle the puck. So, if you pressure them, they kinda throw the puck to us.

“We pressure them and it works fairly well.”

The Bucs were playing with a short bench, but Taurence was pleased with how others stepped up.

“Tyler Rode and Tyler Bozynski play a ton and they are very good players,” he said. “James Lambert and Mark Killingback played a ton and they’re really playing well.

“(Austin) Christie was on the back half and played a few shifts at forward, taking the place of Spencer Kennedy. I was pretty happy with how we played.”

Taurence said a positive of the team is the process of translating practices into game situations.

“I was very, very happy with how the kids played,” he said. “They worked hard (and) they’re doing a lot of the things we work on in practice.

“We have to score when we have an opportunity and we have problems in that area, (but) we’re getting better.”

Taurence said he hopes the two teams will see each other again in districts.

Moving forward, each team will take on a tough opponent in its next outing.

Richard faces Flint Powers who is ranked number five in the state on Friday and the next evening Riverview travels to a tough Detroit Country Day.

Last Updated: 1/16/2014 3:48:01 PM EST