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HOCKEY: Strong first period pushes DU over Anderson

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A three-goal deep hole was too much for the Anderson hockey team to crawl out of Wednesday night against Michigan Metro League rival Dearborn Unified.

Anderson came out slowly, while DU had more energy early and often, and found the net three times in the first period, en route to a 4-2 win over Anderson at the Southgate Civic Center on Wednesday night.

A five-minute major and 10-minute misconduct for checking from behind left Anderson down a man just 1:38 into the game and the visitors took advantage.

DU capitalized on the five-minute penalty, scoring twice in a span of nearly two minutes to take a 2-0 lead.

“We took that five-minute penalty, they scored two quick goals, and then I don’t know if there was ever a sense of urgency from our team tonight, to be completely honest,” said Anderson Coach Pat Jesue.

Nathan Field found the net first on the power play with a snap shot past Anderson goaltender Dominic Alderman’s blocker. Scott Mattern and Trevor Tom added the assists.

Just two minutes later, Mattern scooped up a juicy rebound from Alderman to slide it past his left pad. Jacob Tratar and Bryce Norwood picked up the assists for the second goal.

Mattern found the back of the net near the end of the first period to give DU a 3-0 lead. At the 10:35 mark, Mattern snapped a shot over Alderman’s catching glove, as Tom and Zack Ellis added the assists.

Mattern later added an assist to round out his four-point night.

“Scott’s really come on in the last couple games, in particular, he’s always been good for us,” Dearborn Unified Coach Brian Dallas said. “He’s starting to ramp it up to another level, which is good to see.”

Things started to get chippy in the second period, but not before Anderson finally got on the board.

Dustin Crawford found the back of the net, and Timothy Witz got the lone assist, just 3:25 into the period.

The momentum did not last long for Anderson.

Alderman came out of the crease to play the puck and the Dearborn team rushed in 2-on-1, but he ran into a DU player. A scramble ensued as Alderman tried to get back to his net with the puck flying in every direction. It finally found Tom’s stick and he banked it in. Mattern and Norwood tacked on the assists.

As the second period came to a close, the game got more and more physical. Both DU and Anderson took roughing penalties and DU was stuck with an extra penalty, a minor for a charge.

Anderson cut the lead again in the third, but it was too late for the comeback.

With 19 seconds left, Casey Wieleba shot a turnaround backhand over the catching glove of Bryan Donaldson. Adam Ibach had the assist on the goal.

“I think what killed us, first and foremost, we took two days off,” Jesue said. “I’m not using that as an excuse, but we took two days off and it’s like, we weren’t even mentally here.

“We played pretty good hockey last week. I thought we were turning the corner. This is a step back. Hopefully it’s something minor, but time’s running out for playoffs.”

As for DU, Dallas said he hopes for more results like this, but also said his team needs to improve in the neutral zone, as well as be stronger on the puck.

“We’re really starting to come together as team, No. 1; and No. 2, we’re playing grittier,” said Dallas. “We knew coming in, Southgate plays that kind of game, they’re always hard on the sticks, hard on the puck, well coached, disciplined type of team, and we knew that if we were going to compete, that we had to get to that level. I’m real happy with the way our guys have been progressing.”

Last Updated: 2/1/2014 1:50:02 AM EST