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Lake Orion hockey claim runner-up in state semi-finals



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March 16, 2011 - By David Reed

Special to the Review

The Novi Wildcats advanced to the State title game by defeating Lake Orion 3-0 at Compuware on Friday night.

The Dragons were unable to capitalize on their two first period power plays and Novi scored on both of theirs in the second period.

The Wildcats were heavily favored entering the game but the Dragons out-shot them in the first period 7-3. Novi's crisp passing and a suffocating zone trap defense were the difference in this game.

The Dragons were held to a season low 14 shots while limiting the Wildcats high powered offense to 20 shots. The loss snapped a nine game winning streak and finished the year for Lake Orion at 20-8-1.

Prior to the lose at Compuware, the dragons faced and defeated St. Clair Shores.

From the opening face-off St. Clair Shores tried to neutralize the Dragons speed by playing physical and keeping a body on any white jersey in the area. The first goal of the night came when Brad Bogus jammed the puck off the goalies skates and into the netting after receiving passes from Daniel Chapie and Jake Kreutzer.

After St. Clair Shores tied the game at the start of the second the Dragons scored again. Nick Balavich fed a pass to Zach Koonce who stick-handled through the defense and beat the goalie. Later in the period, Elliot Rinke fed Koonce who then found Shane Stockwell for a goal mouth goal opening up a two goal lead. A minute later, Shores inched closer with a goal.

The third period was quite dramatic as the Dragons started shorthanded and things got worse as they drew another penalty 30 seconds into the penalty kill. The penalty kill unit really stepped it up and killed off the two man advantage. The Dragons fought off another penalty at the ten minute mark and went to work on their own power play shortly later. Dylan Rosen fed the puck down low to Shane Stockwell who found a wide open Zach Koonce for what turned out to be the game winning goal.

Shores scored with a minute left in the game and subsequently pulled the goalie. With 30 seconds left in the game, the cross bar saved the Dragons from overtime.

The Dragons accomplished a great deal this season including the OAA Red Division League Championship, Regional Championship, Quarter Final winners and State Semi-finalists for the first time in school history.

The team would like to thank all of the students, sponsors, friends and family who supported the team throughout this memorable hockey season.

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