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Clarkston heads into OAA Red battle against Dragons

Nate Lowell and Connor Hughes battle with Rochester United for puck control. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
January 26, 2011 - Icers secured second place in the OAA Red on Saturday night after they closed game against Rochester United with a 3-1 win.

"I am happy with their win," said Clarkston Varsity Hockey Coach Bryan Krygier about the boys' performance. "We didn't play bad, we didn't play good we played mediocre."

Rochester United grabbed control of the puck from the face off but it was short as the Wolves took the puck into their opponents zone.

They continued to lead in the fast paced game taking shots on goal, aiming to be the first on the scoreboard.

Senior Adam Matynowski passed the puck to junior Brad Pizzey. He fired his shot onto the net, putting it in with three minutes left in the first period.

"I got really excited," said Pizzey, after Clarkston took the lead. "I thought that was going to be the clincher to get the team rolling. I came out real hard to set the tempo for the game."

The Wolves made 11 attempts on Rochester United's net in the second period, but neither team was able to score.

Coming into the last period Dillon Drayer took the first attempt, only to have it caught in the air by goalie Ian Mercer.

Rochester United tied the game with a goal from Tim Minotas, 48 seconds into a power play.

They attempted one more after winning puck control at the face off and Wolf Troy Fasseel blocked the shot.

The boys brought it back into Rochester United's territory and the ice began to heat up with six minutes left in the game.

Wolves kept putting shots on the net when two of their opponents were sent to the penalty box.

After a brief timeout at Clarkston's bench with 5:43 to go, the boys came back with another approach.

They passed the puck back and forth on the outside with two offense players placed close at the net. The Wolves slowly drew their opponents defense out of the net.

Poised in front of the net Adam Larkin passed the puck to Drayer on the right side of the goalie and out of harm's way.

One swift move from Drayer's hockey stick put the puck in the net with 5:30 left in the game, bringing Clarkston back into the lead. Pizzey also assisted on the power play goal.

Chad Wotton made another attempt on the net a minute later and the boys kept looking for gaps to shoot the puck through to score. The Wolves had another shot when Rochester United was one man down - out on another penalty.

Less than four minutes to go, Austin Morse added the third goal and secured the win. Macario Torres and Pizzey assisted.

"It put us over the top," said Pizzey. "We really played hard."

"Our power play at the end of the game was excellent," Krygier added. "Our special teams won the game. Our special teams on the other end lost us the lead. We tied it up and our special teams came through. I am happy with their win. The last six minutes we worked the puck pretty well. We played how we should have."

The boys made 33 shots on the net and Fasseel had 17 saves for the night. The win gives the boys a 8-4-1 record.

Now the focus is on Lake Orion on Saturday with practice against Howell in their Wednesday game.

"Now we need to win against Lake Orion to be tied for first or take first," said Krygier, adding they will know more when Orion plays Farmington, also tied for second, on Thursday.

Krygier anticipates it will be a heated game against the Dragons.

"We usually get a huge crowd," he said. it is their senior night. I think it is going to be a very electric, upbeat atmosphere. It is going to be a very emotional game. As far as I am concerned we need to take the emotion out of the game."

Clarkston's plan is to stick with what they have been doing, making sure they outwork and put pressure on the Dragons.

"Orion is going to be a tough game," said Pizzey. "We can do it. They are going to come out hard because we are rivals."

The game is also Clarkston and Lake Orion's Annual Youth Hockey Night. Free admission for kids wearing their team hockey jersey.

Activities between periods include chuck-a-puck and a hockey shoot out for prizes. Fans can also tour the Wolves' and Dragons' locker rooms.

The game is Saturday, 8 p.m. at Detroit Skate Club, 888 Denison, Bloomfield Hills.

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.
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