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Trojans use big third period to top Pioneer, advance to state semifinals PHOTO GALLERY

  • The Trenton hockey team used a big third period on Tuesday night to knock off Ann Arbor Pioneer. The win propelled the Trojans into the MHSAA Final-Four. The state semifinals will take place Thursday night at Compuware Arena in Plymouth. Photos by Larry Caruso

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It wasn’t the prettiest effort of the season, but the Trenton hockey team survived a sloppy first and second period Tuesday night and beat Ann Arbor Pioneer 6-2 in a Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 state quarterfinal game at Yost Arena in Ann Arbor.

Then Trojans never trailed in this game, but they were never really comfortable, either, until two third-period goals put some distance between them and the Pioneers.

Trenton grabbed a 3-1 first -period lead, but that lead was deceiving as a number of untimely turnovers had the Trojans scrambling in their own end and goalie Nick Ramirez bailing them out again and again.

Justin Dunn got the scoring started in the game just 3:50 into the first period when he slapped his own rebound past Ann Arbor goalie Karl Gage. It looked like the start of a fun night for the Trojans, but Pioneers began fighting back, winning battles and taking advantage of Trenton miscues.

At 7:10 of the first period, Pioneer tied the game.

Pioneer had a few more good whacks at Ramirez as the period progressed, but with 3:12 left to go, Mitch Galea scored an unassisted goal from a bad angle and Trenton was back on top. Then, with just 20 second left on the clock, Nick Bondy slipped one under Gage and the Trojans skated off with a 3-1 lead after 17 minutes of play.

Pioneer continued to give the Trojans fits and midway through the second period they got a wrap-around goal to cut the Trenton lead just one. It stayed that way until just 53 seconds remained in the period when Galea backhanded one home to give his team a little breathing room heading into the final period.

The third period was the best of the night for Trenton and the Trojans controlled play for most of the 17 minutes.

Sol Markus scored after a pretty set up from Phil Pugliese and Quinn Preston closed out the scoring with a power-play goal with less than three minutes to play.

With the win, Trenton improved to 24-4-1 and will play Warren DeLaSalle in the Division 2 semifinals at Compuware Arena Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. DeLaSalle punched its ticket for the semis with a 3-2 victory over Michigan Interscholastic League rival Port Huron Northern. DeLaSalle and Trenton have played twice already this season with Trenton winning by one goal each time.

On the other side of the bracket, Hartland scored twice in the final two minutes to beat Berkley 3-2 to reach the semifinals. Hartland, which Trenton beat during the MIHL Showcase back in February, will face Muskegon Reeths-Puffer, which beat Saginaw Heritage 5-3 in its quarterfinal game.

The Division 2 state finals will be 10 a.m. Saturday at Compuware.

Last Updated: 3/5/2014 4:03:59 PM EST