December 28, 2011 - It's the two most polarizing words in the sport of hockey – "puck luck."
When you have it, it's the greatest thing in the world. And when it's going against you, there is nothing you can do but shake your head and wonder what could have been.
The Wildcats found themselves on the wrong end of "puck luck" Thursday night as Lake Orion downed Oxford 6-4 in their lone meeting of the regular season.
It was the first loss of the season for the Wildcats, who fell to 6-1 on the year.
"It was a really good game," varsity hockey coach Dave Hague said. "Obviously it was disappointing, but the game could have gone either way. The bounces kind of went their way on a few goals."
"Those games will happen and we (have) just got to keep working hard," he added.
Right away fans knew they were in for a treat as Lake Orion jumped ahead 1-0 in the first 25 seconds.
The Wildcats quickly tied the game at one on a goal by senior Nick Hocker, but Lake Orion responded with three goals by the end of the first period to grab a 4-1 lead.
Hague said it was just a matter of a couple of bounces that led to Lake Orion's three goal lead. "They outshot us a little bit. I thought we had scoring chances and maybe had a slight advantage there. They got a couple of bounces...hit shinpads and redirections...that went in," he said.
However, Hague wasn't making excuses.
"That's part of the game too," he said. "They are still good goals and it happens. We went in the locker room down 4-1 not necessarily disappointed. We were working hard, the play was very even. We missed a couple chances and their bounces went in."
Oxford came out stronger defensively in the second and outscored the Dragons 2-1 in the period and trailed 5-3 entering the third period.
"Our goal was to just win that period and give us an opportunity to win the game in the third, and we did that," Hague noted.
"We outshot them in the period," Hague added. "I thought we controlled the play for the vast majority of the second period and gave ourselves a chance to win it in the third."
Junior Connor Novack scored Oxford's second goal, while senior Nolan Chapman scored the final two goals for Oxford. "It was two good teams. Both with similar style and two talented teams going at it," Hague said. "As a coach, you got to love that every night."
The Wildcats will spend part of their Christmas break playing in a tournament in Madison, WI from Dec. 27-29. "It's a good team and parent building week and ultimately some good competition," Hague said.
Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.