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Late surge pushes Pioneers past Titans into regional final PHOTO GALLERY

  • Photo by Anna Lisa Fedor
  • Photo by Anna Lisa Fedor
  • Photo by Anna Lisa Fedor
  • Photo by Anna Lisa Fedor
  • Photo by Anna Lisa Fedor

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With a ticket to the MHSAA regional finals on the line Gabriel Richard faced off against Southgate Anderson Wednesday night in a boys’ hockey game that was worth the price of admission.

With 2:40 remaining in the third period the Pioneers’ Tyler Riney followed a John Ames slap shot and deposited the rebound into the back of the net to break a 1-1 tie. Gabriel Richard would go on to add an empty net goal to seal the victory 3-1.

“I thought it was a great hockey game both by Southgate and by us,” said Gabriel Richard Coach Ricky Desana. “It was an unbelievable environment, everybody was into it and it was up and down both ways. It was just a great hockey game.”

After an evenly played first two periods, Gabriel Richard came out on fire in the third and outshot the Titans 18-6, but Anderson’s sophomore goalie Dominic Alderman made save after save to keep his team in the game.

“He plays with ice in his veins,” said Anderson Coach Pat Jesue. “It’s fortunate that we have him for the next two years. Well, at least I hope we can keep him for two more years, but he was great in that third period and really the whole game.”

Gabriel Richard turned to its 52 goal scorer Michael Hodgson to get on the board nine minutes into the first period in front of a packed Allen Park Ice Arena.

Richard’s Brendan Damron fired a shot into traffic that was redirected by Hodgson and past Alderman for the goal with 7:46 remaining in the first.

Anderson would use its power play to tie the game exactly six minutes later.

With Gabriel Richard Captain Devin Dickow serving a roughing minor, the Titans Casey Wieleba made a nifty move to shake a defender and threw a shot at the Pioneer net that was redirected by Brandon Robert for the goal.

Anderson came out and outplayed Richard in the second.

The Titans won 13-of-18 faceoffs and outshot the Pioneers 9-5 in the period, but couldn’t find the back of the net and the two teams entered the final period still knotted at 1.

“I thought they outplayed us in the second period and I don’t think we made very good decisions that cost us in terms of turning over the puck,” said Desana. “I thought in the third period we played better defensively even though we were in their zone a lot.”

“I thought we were smarter with the puck which helped us generate scoring opportunities.”

The Titans weathered the third period Richard storm for as long as they could, but in the end it wasn’t enough.

“It was a chess match, there is no doubt about that,” said Jesue. “I think we knew that in the third period it was going to come down to a bounce. Unfortunately that bounce didn’t go our way and the bounce ended up in the back of our net and it’s 2-1.”

“I’m just proud of our guys and their effort tonight.”

Hodgson added the empty netter for the Pioneers to finish with two goals. Joseph Lavine added an assist in the win.

Gabriel Richard moves on to face Carlson on Saturday at the Southgate Civic Center.

Last Updated: 2/28/2014 11:52:23 PM EST