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HOCKEY: Jags top DU 48 hours after original game time

During last year’s Allen Park-Dearborn Unified outdoor hockey game the snow fell so hard players could not tell where the puck was, the zamboni could not be used and players and fans had to help shovel the ice in between periods.

This year it was still cold, but the bright sunny day left the conditions perfect for an outdoor hockey game between two good teams.

However, after a longer second intermission, officials came away from the crowd of coaches and players around a spot near the far goalie net and called the game, deeming the ice conditions were too dangerous to continue the play.

On Monday at the Dearborn Ice Skating Rink, the teams dropped the puck for the final 17 minutes and a goal from each gave the Jags a 4-3 win.

The teams spent a majority of the time in DU’s zone and after four minutes of consistent pressure it paid off.

With 12:46 to play, Branden Kilburg banged in what would be the game-winner in a scramble in front of the net.

Toph Mann had the assist.

Dearborn Unified got a goal of its own three and a half minutes later, but the offense did not seem to get really desperate until the final minutes.

Trevor Tom snuck one through the five-hole with help from Austin Watson and Scott Mattern for the one-goal game.

Late in the period, DU really started applying the pressure, but the Jaguar defense did what they had to do to get the win.

DU hit the post with 1:50 to go and 20 seconds later got another close scoring opportunity in front of the net before Mann quickly cleared it down the ice.

With 37 seconds to go, DU pulled its goalie for the extra man advantage, but Nick Fulton picked up the loose puck and skated away with it as the buzzer went off.

Allen Park assistant Coach Rick Pinkowski said it took a little bit of time for the team to get going since they normally have Mondays off.

“I think our line changes, most of the kids I thought were coming to the bench a little slow and I think it cost us with some of the pressure we were starting to build,” he said. “They were starting to carry the play a little bit and I think when they scored that third goal, it gave them a little bit of momentum.

“We struggled at times to get the puck out. They were brining good pressure and we kept reminding them there’s six minutes left; step it up (and) be a little bit smarter with the puck.”

DU Coach Brian Dallas said his team looked at the one-period situation as an opportunity to prepare for the upcoming playoffs.

“You have that desperate situation for one period where you have to let it all hang out, which is what we have to do next week,” he said. “To me, it was a mini lesson.

“I looked at it as a mini playoff season. One period; there’s not extra time to get back into things. You don’t have an extra two periods, where as next week there’s no other games to play if you don’t win the games.”

Dallas said he would have liked to see his team a little more desperate early on.

“We didn’t get desperate until late and we were down,” he said. “So, from that perspective, giving them that fourth goal really put us in a bind because you really don’t have any time to catch up (and) in the playoffs, if you can’t catch up ,your season’s over.”

Allen Park held a 3-2 lead before the game was suspended.

Jason Obrycki-Smith got the temporary “game-winner” with a shot from the point right over the Dearborn net minder’s shoulder in the final seconds of the second period.

Minutes before, Allen Park had tied things up at two goals each. After a bit of Dearborn Unified pressure, the Jags seemed to say this is enough and picked up the puck, taking it all the way down to the DU end where David Pischke fired it to the back of the net, shorthanded.

Early in the game, each team held its own lead.

Nick Fulton got the Jags started about seven minutes into the opening period. The Jags were working their way around the perimeter with some quick passes and in a scramble in front of the net, Nick Metropoulos picked up a rebound and quickly passed to Fulton who banged it in for a 1-0 lead.

Bob Salerno also assisted.

With about four minutes to go, DU tied things up when Brent Benavides took a shot from the point.

DU struck again in the early minutes of the second period. A defensive turnover from Allen Park resulted in DU possession and Nathan Field easily found the back of the net for a 2-1 lead before the Jags tied things up late in the second.

Pinkowski said he was pleased with the effort on Saturday and the only upset was the suspended play.

“We made one defensive miscue in our end and it costs us a goal,” he said. “But we were happy with our kids’ effort (and) we were happy with our goaltending.

“I think we were disappointed that we didn’t get the whole game in. It was a beautiful day compared to last year.”

Dallas said the event is great for the teams, but the weather factor can be a problem.

“It’s a cool event and gives them something different,” he said. “You get on a bus and go to the rink or you come to the home rink and it’s four walls and an ice surface.

“There, it’s outdoors, the fire’s going. I think it’s good for the kids but the weather factor is a problem. I would have liked to see what would have happened in that game if we would have been able to continue right on through.

“Unfortunately, that didn’t happen but that’s what happens when you deal with the elements.”

Last Updated: 2/17/2014 3:08:16 PM EST

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