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HOCKEY: Dominating Titans get big four-point win over Jags

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A win is always nice, but a four-point win is even nicer.

In the Metro League showcase Friday night the Anderson hockey team got a much needed win over league foe Allen Park that also gave the Titans two points in the Downriver League.

Anderson knocked off Allen Park 5-2 at the DISC in Dearborn in the team’s first win in a month.

The win came three weeks after the roles were reversed and Allen Park was the winner in a match up in the finals of the Woodhaven Holiday Tournament.

“We needed it,” Anderson Coach Pat Jesue said about the win. “All the things I’ve been saying; we’ve finally started to put it together here a little bit and I kind of like the timing on it.

“I think it’s important that we get going in the last month. (This is) an opportunity to turn our record right around.”

Allen Park took a very early lead, but the Titans tied it up three minutes later and never really looked back in a game where they won face offs, capitalized on the power play and overall outworked their opponent.

“All the things you’ve gotta do to win hockey games, they did that,” Allen Park Coach John Brithinee said of Anderson. “We had no answer to anything that they were throwing at us tonight.

“They physically beat the pulp out of us. They were smarter, they were faster and they were more disciplined. They did everything they were supposed to do; that’s how you’re supposed to play hockey.”

Just over a minute into the game, Allen Park took its only lead of the night when Nick Metropoulos took a shot from the far right, unassisted.

The lead did not last long however, and three minute later after an Allen Park turnover, Anderson’s Dustin Crawford went on a breakaway and effortlessly found the back of the net for a tied game.

Play went back and forth and it was the Titans who struck next.

With 4:41 to play, Allen Park was called for elbowing and the Titans capitalized just 11 seconds into the power play when Matt Cooper poked one through a scramble in front of the net. Josh Miruk assisted.

Much of the last two minutes was spent in the Titan zone but the Jags could not capitalize and the score held through the end of the first.

The game winner came with 10:39 left in the middle period.

Anderson’s Adam Ibach took a shot from the right of the net and it deflected off the post for a 3-1 Titan lead.

Mac Slowick had the assist.

Big defensive efforts from Jayden Buchanan and Ben Cullin helped to keep the Jaguars from tying the game right back up in the second.

Allen Park took a late penalty and with six seconds left on it, Anderson took one of its own.

The Jags took another penalty early in the third and Anderson had the chances but did not score until 13 seconds after the penalty expired.

The Titans won the faceoff in the Jaguar zone and Casey Weileba took a pass from Slowik and sent it straight to the back of the net for an insurance goal.

The third period was littered with seven penalties; four to Allen Park and three to Anderson but the final Titan goal came at full strength for both teams.

Cooper added his second of the night to cap the Anderson scoring effort, unassisted.

In last-minute effort, Allen Park’s Jason Obrycki-Smith added a goal on a four-on-four situation with 38.2 seconds to go, assisted by Michael Szalai but it wasn’t enough for the comeback.

Anderson’s sophomore goalie Dominic Alderman stood tall in net, stopping 20 of 22 shots faced. Allen Park’s Sean Stephens, also a sophomore, stopped six of 11 shots faced.

Jesue was thrilled with the win but said there is always room for improvement heading into the final month of the season.

“There were some things that we still need to work on, but at the same time, we’re doing good things,” he said. “I think we’re keeping the message consistent and I think they’re finally starting to understand why we’re being the way we are and seeing that it’s working.”

The game a month ago was in the back of the Titans’ minds and Jesue said it helped heading into the contest.

“I just think we knew to be a little more specific on our assignments,” he said. “On faceoffs, where the puck was and how they played.”

The win came on the heels of an overtime loss to Divine Child on Wednesday night; a game in which Jesue said his team played its best period of hockey in the second.

“We did a great job and I think that carried over,” he said. “It’s a matter of bottling up the good parts of the games we play and try to put a full game together and play three full periods.”

Brithinee said he knew the Titans would come to play.

“I think Southgate played a very good game,” he said. “I know they’re well-coached. I know they’re gonna come out and play some very strong, aggressive, hard fore checking, disciplined back checking hockey.

“I don’t want to take away from what Southgate did to us. They physically beat us when they got to the puck, they out-skated us … every aspect of the game.”

The Jaguars have had a successful season so far but Brithinee said playing against another good team makes yours play bad.

“They played a good game, and if we don’t figure out how to match that intensity, then it’s going to be an extremely long rest of the year,” he said. “Hopefully the guys learn a lesson.”

Both teams face big challenges in the upcoming week.

Allen Park will face off with Detroit Country Day on Wednesday and take on a tough Divine Child next weekend.

Anderson gets right back on the ice tomorrow night when they host Saline.

On Wednesday they host Dearborn Unified and they face off with Downriver League rival Roosevelt next Friday.

Last Updated: 1/25/2014 12:47:03 PM EST