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HOCKEY: Two late goals push Woodhaven past Grosse Ile

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It was senior night in Woodhaven on Wednesday and although the festivities that come with it can sometimes distract a home team, the Warriors played hard all night and eventually saw their efforts pay off late in the game.

“It’s always a struggle on senior night because you never know how the kids are going to react,” said Warriors’ Coach Bryan Sullivan. “It took us a little while to get going. We came to life a little bit in the third period but other than that it was kind of a struggle within ourselves all night long.”

Woodhaven (17-6-1) scored two goals with under four minutes left in the game to break a 2-2 tie and come away with the 4-2 win over Grosse Ile (9-16).

“We weren’t moving the puck and we weren’t skating very well early in the game,” Sullivan said. “We were fighting ourselves a little bit. The tempo wasn’t there for us but we picked things up when it mattered and we’ll certainly take the W.”

Grosse Ile struck first on a goal by senior Hunter McGough nearly eight minutes into the opening period. Four minutes later, the Warriors responded when CJ Yacuone took a Dominic Moore pass and beat Red Devils’ goaltender Jordan Gilbert to tie the game up at one goal apiece.

The score would remain deadlocked at 1-1 through the entire second period and Gilbert was the primary reason why. He made trapper saves, he stopped pucks in traffic, and he didn’t allow Woodhaven to take advantage of rebounds en route to 12-save second period and 21 stops on 22 shots through two periods.

“Jordan’s the backbone of our team,” said Grosse Ile Coach Jason Durbin. “He means everything to us.”

4:13 into the third period, Nick Youngheim cashed in on a rebound opportunity, sliding a puck past Gilbert on a nice backhanded goal to put the Warriors up 4-3.

With just over eight minutes remaining in the third period the Red Devils found themselves with a 4-on-3 advantage but were unable to take advantage of the powerplay. However the instant the penalty box was cleared of all three offenders, with 4:46 left in the game, Steven Plyler banged in a rebound goal of his own at full strength to re-tie the game at 2-2.

“It was very competitive and we kept chipping away down the stretch of the game,” Durbin said. “Jordan obviously kept us in it, and it was nice to score the two goals but at the same time we have to put more pucks on the net than that.”

Two goals would be all Grosse Ile would wind up with, and the Warriors finally cracked Gilbert’s code when they scored two goals in a 57-second span late in the third period.

Jon Szczepaniak put a puck past a sprawling Gilbert during a scramble in front of the net and then Yacuone scored his second goal of the night with just 2:23 left to seal the game.

“That second goal was a redirect in front of the net with CJ. He took a pass out from the corner and just redirected it top shelf,” Sullivan said. “You can’t blame the goalie on that one, it’s tough to stop a deflection like that.

“It was a pretty good play, as was Jon’s. Those shots weren’t going in in the first two periods but we got them to go late and that’s just keeping at it. Eventually something’s going to go in if you stay at it.”

Gilbert made 35 saves on the night for the Red Devils. Trevor Monaco of Woodhaven manned the net for the first two periods, stopping eight shots while allowing one goal, and Steven Hurley made six saves on seven shots in the third.

Yacuone tallied two points on two goals and Dominic Moore added two more, both assists, for Woodhaven.

McGough and Plyler scored the goals for Grosse Ile, while Chad Miller, Robert Bialobrzeski, and Abedin Ziberi picked up assists.

Grosse Ile will prepare for districts as their regular season is now over, while the Warriors will close out their season on the road against SMCC on Saturday.

Last Updated: 2/19/2014 11:24:03 PM EST