Source: Sherman Publications

Remove Images

Orion brings home league title

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

May 23, 2012

Wildcats bear down to senior Captain Brad Bogus driving him to the ground. The beating didn’t stop Bogus from getting up, shirking his opponants and scoring Orion’s sixth goal. Photo by G. Ouzounian
The Wildcats clawed at the defense and hissed at the offense, but in the end the Dragons walked where they pleased when on May 19 Lake Orion crushed Oxford 10-1 for the OAA White League title.

The game saw the Dragons take an early lead and not let up on any aspect. The team outmaneuvered the Wildcats zone defense and stopped their offense in their tracks. By the time the first half was over, the Dragons were already up 7-1.

Head Coach Brad Thomas said the game was a win from every aspect and praised his team for playing as well as they did.

"We moved the ball on offense - they played a zone defense where they pack in around their zone, but we were able to move the ball around the outside and found cutters through the crease," said Thomas. "Their goalie did a nice job, but we got in a lot of good shots. We moved the ball and played unselfishly. When you have a zone team you have to do that or you get shut down."

Leading the offense was senior Brad Bogus with two goals and two assists, senior Ian Schlitt with three goals, senior Jacob Berkal with two goals and one assist, junior Nick Booker with four goals and one assist and senior Sean Raymor with two assists.

But without the defense, the game may not have come out the way it did. Thomas said the defense played a "key rgll" and said in general, "anytime your defense plays well you have a good chance of winning."

"It starts with a ride and that starts in their offensive zone," said Thomas. "Our (defense) was extremely aggressive. We put a lot of pressure on them and we got them to give up a lot of turnovers midfield. We went to poke at their hands because it just makes it harder to pass, catch, throw, everything - it makes it harder to play.

"Our team communicated very well and once they created a mistake we cleared the ball quickly. Those numbers are a credit to how well we played defensively."

Lake Orion dominated the ground ball game, which was led by junior Nick Knitter with seven recoveries, senior Robert Aiello with five, senior Damion Wilbon with four, senior Grant Glende with three, junior Mike Grosick with three, sophomore Joe Friedman with three and sophomore Dimitri Grannis with two. In total, Lake Orion outplayed Oxford in this respect 50-29.

Orion also held Oxford to 12 shots, two of which reached sophomore Devon Fulcher, earning him a 50 percent save percentage.

Thomas said the team has had a good year and is looking ahead to the playoff season, which began with Waterford on May 21 with another 10-1 win. Thomas said the game was similar to the Oxford game, with the Dragons leaving the first half at 6-0, winning face-offs and playing "great defense across the board."

Bogus again led offense with three goals, two assists and nine groundballs while newcomer Wilbon scored the first goal of the game and also gathered nine groundballs.

Next up for the Dragons is Midland, in Midland at 6 p.m. today (May 23.) Thomas believes the game is winnable.

The Dragons overall record was 15-4 with an undefeated league record of 5-0. They are now 2-0 in the playoffs.