December 28, 2011 - The Dragon hockey team extended its winning streak to seven games Dec. 22, after skating to a hard fought victory against the Oxford Wildcats, 6-4.
Senior Brad Bogus knocks a stick from his opponent’s hands while collecting the puck. Photo by G. Ouzounian (click for larger version)
The game immediately went in Lake Orion's favor when, off the first face-off, the Dragons scored seven seconds into the contest. Oxford responded with solid play of their own, culminating with the equalizer - a jammed puck into the Lake Orion net with 13 minutes left in the first.
Persistence and deflection saw Lake Orion score the next three goals in the first period, including a shorthanded tally by Trevor Knight near the end of the period.
Lake Orion took its 4-1 lead into the second period and managed to sink another two pucks in the net by the final buzzer. Oxford came back with three more before the end of the game, but the comback fell short.
Power play goals would account for half of the Wildcats' scoring.
Head Coach Nick Field said, despite the win, he felt the game was a rough one on Orion's side.
"We generated some offensive scoring chances, which was a positive," he said. "But, on the other end of the spectrum there were a lot of things we didn't do well. We were not in sync like we usually are, discipine was an issue with all the penalties, and it was just overall an off-night for us.
"But we've done a lot this year - we'll get a break here and get back after the Christmas break. The good news is we managed to come through with a win."
Field commended Oxford for "coming out hard and making Lake Orion work for the win." The game exposed a weakness the Dragons have with battling around the net and low openings for scoring opportunities - something Field said the team will work to improve upon.
Top performers for the game included senior goaltender Drew Galasso who stopped 28 of 32 shots on goal, senior Nick Balavich and freshman Ryan Szydlowski, both with one goal and one assist. Knight also had an assist to go with his score. Field was pleased to see the scoring spread out evenly and said it was a good sign for the team as a whole.
Lake Orion totaled 33 shots on goal against Oxford.
Next up for the Dragons is South Lyon on Jan. 12 and Farmington United on Jan. 14. Regarding South Lyon, Field called the squad a good, top-20-ranked team but added Lake Orion also maintains a spot in the top 20.
"They're a good team, but so are we," he said. "We just have to get back to how we played in the first month.
"The game will be a good test for us after these next few weeks of regrouping."
Lake Orion is on a seven-game winning streak, with an overall record of 8-3. They are 5-0 in the OAA Red Division.