February 10, 2010 - By Don Finn, Special to The Review
The young Lake Orion hockey team continued their drive on improving their overall team defense and preparing for state playoffs, right around the corner.
Last week, the Dragons only yielded one goal in their two games on the road, beating Birmingham United, 3-0, and Macomb L'Anse Creuse North, 4-1.
Friday's win against OAA-rival Birmingham United was a result of the team-first approach that players have been working on, say coaching staff. All of the Dragons contributed to the victory with their play and support for each other.
The boys came out storming the Birmingham zone and ended the first period with a 2-0 lead.
Getting the Dragons on the scoreboard first was sophomore Elliott Rinke. His blazing slapshot from just inside the blue line found the back of the net at the 11:24 mark of the period. He had help from Jesse Cameron and Jake Kreutzer.
Scoring just three minutes later was Assistant Captain Corbin Rainey, as a result of a nifty passing play with his linemates Corey Hodge and Daniel Chapie.
The third period saw the Dragons put the game away as Nick Balavich ripped a wrist shot just underneath the crossbar, leaving the Birmingham goaltender without much of a chance.
Dominic Juncaj stopped all 23 shots he faced for the shutout.
Coach Pat Cherry said he was pleased with the effort of the entire team as scoring came from three different lines.
Saturday, the Dragons participated in the OAA vs. MAC (Macomb Area Conference) Showcase at the Rochester Onyx. Fourteen games were played between the conferences throughout the day.
Dragons were paired against L'Anse Creuse North, who entered the game 11-5-2.
The young icers knew they would have to play intensely, yet very disciplined, as the Crusaders play a very undisciplined style, according to coaches.
L'Anse Creuse North carried the early action and led after one period of play 1-0. The "never say quit" icers poured it on in the second, scoring three goals to end the period 3-1.
Balavich got things started jamming home a rebound at the 13:33 mark of the period. Assisting on the play were Brett Reed and Cameron.
Just a few minutes later, junior Captain Danny Blascak scored a power play goal to put the Dragons ahead, 2-1. Brent Cotter drew the assist with a pass to Blascak as he drove to the net from his defensive position at the blue line.
Lake Orion continued to apply pressure and frustrate the undisciplined Crusaders, who took 18 penalties on the afternoon. Balavich scored again, this time with helpers form Zachary Koonce and Jake Kreutzer.
The third period saw the Dragons continue to pound away at the Crusaders, and Blascak finalized the scoring with an empty net goal with just under a minute to play. Hodge did nice job winning a one on one battle against the boards and moving the puck to Balascak, earning him an assist.
Juncaj made 25 saves in the victory.
These two victories move the Dragons to 8-10 on the season. They resume action this week, Thursday, Feb. 11, facing the Utica Chieftains, 5:30 p.m. at the Detroit Skating Club.
Also that evening, the team will be honoring their three seniors; Shane Pettit, Hodge, Ryan Liddicoat and their families.