January 15, 2014 - As drivers were outside battling the snow covering the roads, the Wolves were inside Birmingham Ice Arena battling the home team in a OAA crossover match.
Jacob LaPorte edges the puck away from the wall and from Birmingham United's defense in the first period. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
A spark in the second period boosted the Clarkston Hockey team to win the game, 9-4.
"We had a lot of goals," said head coach Bryan Krygier. "We didn't start out that great. It was our first game back after break so we were a little bit rusty. Even though we won there are still a lot of things we need to work on."
The boys opened the game with the first goal off a shot from junior Drake Gentile, less than four minutes into the first period.
Birmingham United tied the score a little over six minutes later with a shot on senior goalie Nick Surovec during a power play.
"We have to stay out of the box," Krygier said, adding during the first period they were trying for crisp, deep passes to play positional hockey. "We have to move the puck and play better positional hockey."
Within 1:15 into the second period, Gentile brought the Wolves into the lead again. A shot bounced off Birmingham United's goalie onto the ice and Gentile took aim to put the score 2-1 with assists from Joe Popp and Chase Weidemann.
Roman Reiner continued the push with his goal scored with 13:30 left in the period with an assist from Gentile and Weidemann.
"We started to spread the game out a little bit," Krygier added about the difference in the second period. "We put our wingers back to the boards. We just opened the ice a little bit so we could make some passes instead of being congested."
Gentile was next to score for his third for the hat trick three minutes later when his shot went into the back of the net.
Carter Rea finished the period putting the score 5-2 after the goalie moved to the right and Rea shot to the left of him to score.
"It was tough," Gentile said.
We played a good opponent but we found a way after the first period to win."
He added he was on a great line which led to his hat trick for the night.
"Chase and Roman were just giving me the puck," Gentile smiled.
"I am glad he showed up," Krygier added. "He got those goals and pushed us ahead to get some distance between us and the other team."
The Wolves added more distance with four more goals in the final period starting with the first from Garrett Polish.
Shayn Lindquist, Reiner and a second from Rea finished off the scoring. Rea scored the final goal with :31.8 left in the game to put the game at 9-4.
"Roman had a really good game, too," Krygier said. "Someone always has to step up and get those goals."
The Wolves made 46 shots on the net and Surovec made 20 saves.
"Nick played okay in net," Krygier said. "They got a penalty shot and a power play goal. They got another one where the guy took it from him and shoved it in the net. It was one of those nights coming back from break where you have to get these things out."
The boys head to Grand Rapids this week as they take on East Kentwood and Kenowa Hills.
"It definitely gives us some momentum," Gentile said. "We were playing good before break but this gives us a spin on things before we go to Kentwood. We will have a couple days of practice and then off to Kentwood."
"It was good to get this game in," Krygier added. "We have to work hard next week to get ready for our weekend trip."
The Wolves play East Kentwood on Friday at Kentwood, 6 p.m.
"They are always a big team and they always get a big crowd for us," Krygier said. "It is always exciting to play at their place. They have a rink on campus which is nice so you get a good following. We won the last couple games out there and hopefully we can do the same this time."
They follow with a game at Grand Rapids Arena on Saturday against Kenowa Hills, 1 p.m.
Krygier added they have never played them and they don't know much about them.
"Our best defense is offense so keep the puck in their zone in the offensive zone more," he said as the boys prepared for them. "We need to get more shots and take the puck to the net. Hopefully we will catch a couple more breaks and play better defensive hockey. Hopefully get two road wins."
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007. Follow Clarkston sports on Twitter @CNewsWRSports.