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HOCKEY: Trenton's Ramirez a brick wall in battle of state's best (PHOTO)
Trenton senior Mitchell Galea had two goals Wednesday night as Trenton beat the No.1-ranked Division 1 team in the state, Novi Detroit Catholic Central 4-1. A week ago, the Trojans beat Livonia Stevenson, then the No.1-ranked Division 2 team. Photo by Larry Caruso.
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Wednesday night, for the second time in seven days, the Trojans beat a No. 1-ranked team. This time the victim was Division 1 leader and Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League rival Novi Detroit Catholic Central. The score was 4-1.
A week ago, the Trojans went to Livonia and beat the then-No.1 team in Division 2 team, Stevenson.
Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook, the No. 1 team in Division 3 is now the only top-ranked team not to dwell under the bootheel of the Trojans.
If they handed out stars at the end of high school games, Trenton goalie Nick Ramirez would have been No. 1 Wednesday night, and maybe No. 2 and 3, too, as he faced a barrage of Catholic Central shots – 42 in all – and stopped 41 of them. CC didn’t get one past him until its 41st shot of the night and that came with less than two minutes to play and Trenton enjoying a comfortable 3-0 advantage.
“(Nick) has been playing great,” said Trenton Coach Mike Turner. “He’s playing like a senior.”
Catholic Central more than doubled up Trenton in shots on goal (42-19), but the quality scoring chances were much more even. In fact, in the scoreless first period, the Shamrocks had 14 shots to Trenton’s six, but five of Trenton’s six shots were better scoring chances than any of the looks the Shamrocks had.
“They were shooting it from everywhere,” said Turner. “Our guys are still trying to make fancy moves and passes.”
On this night, the fancy moves and passes won out as Trenton proved that quality beats quantity most of the time.
The first goal of the game, scored by senior Mitchell Galea at 12:11 of the second period, was not fancy and what it lacked in finesse it more than made up for in toughness.
Galea tipped the puck past a pinching CC defenseman and raced to catch up with it at center ice. The CC defender from the other side tried to angle the Trenton player toward the boards, but Galea dipped his shoulder and drove the net. With the CC player draped all over him, Galea jammed the puck into the net a split second before he and the defenseman crashed into the goalie and the goal,
Galea, the defender, the goalie and the net all wound up sprawled behind the goal line. The goal was allowed and Catholic Central did not argue. The goal came on Trenton’s 10th shot of the night.
The second period ended with no further scoring and despite outshooting Trenton 29-11 through two periods, the visitors retired to their dressing room pondering a 1-0 deficit.
Early in the third period Trenton made it 2-0.
Phil Pugliese won a faceoff deep in Catholic Central territory and headed to the net. He was rewarded when a shot bounced off the CC goalie and he was there to clean up the rebound with a backhand. Quinn Preston and Aaron Arturi assisted on what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
Trenton probably would have been happy with just the two goals, but midway through the period, sophomore defenseman Grant McClelland fired a hard, but routine-looking shot that found the back of the net. Sol Markus and Nick Bondy assisted.
With just seven minutes left to play, it was clear that Trenton has bagged another big one for its trophy case.
With just 1:39 left to play, Catholic Central finally got one past Ramirez, but the Trojans got that back less than a minute later when Galea got loose and fired one into an empty Catholic Central net.
The victory was a great one, as was the one a week against Stevenson, but the Trojans have precious little time to feel good about it.
On Friday they go to Oak Park to play Brother Rice, one of just three teams to beat Trenton this year. The others are Catholic Central and Cranbrook.
Next week is the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League Showcase in Trenton.
The Trojans face Port Huron Northern on Wednesday and state-ranked opponents Hartland and Traverse City Central on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
And for those interested in trophies, Trenton goes to Cranbrook on Feb. 21 – the last day of the 2014 regular season.
Last Updated: 1/30/2014 10:41:46 AM EST