BOYS HOCKEY: Lake Orion gains statement win in 5-3 decision over Rochester United | North Oakland Sports

BOYS HOCKEY: Lake Orion gains statement win in 5-3 decision over Rochester United

| December 2, 2016 | Comments (0)



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ROCHESTER — Lake Orion has picked up a statement win in its OAA Red Division opener.

The Division 1 sixth-ranked Dragons remained unbeaten on the young campaign with a 5-3 victory Friday over eighth-ranked Rochester United at The Onyx.

Rochester is the four-time defending league champion, finishing in a three-way tie last season with Farmington and Berkley. Lake Orion was only fifth in the league standings last winter.

TJ Hirschfield netted the hat trick and Jack Barker notched 27 saves for Lake Orion (4-0-0, 1-0-0) in the victory.

“It’s about working for those power plays and then scoring on them, too,” said Lake Orion coach Nick Field. “We did a great job of putting pressure on them in their zone, creating scoring chances and putting them in tough positions. The credit goes to our guys for working hard to get those power plays and then scoring on (4-of-5) power plays was the difference.”

Rochester United cashed in the first paycheck, when Al DiMarco slipped in a shot off feeds from Michael Rittner and Matt Hawke just 1:07 into the contest.

That was the only time United (1-1-0, 1-1-0) led in the contest.

Lake Orion knotted the score with 5:46 remaining in the first period when Hirschfield redirected a cross from Blake Conley on the power play — the first of four power-play goals by the Dragons.

Hirschfield netted his second goal with 15:04 left in the second period off passes by Conner Graham and Joey Frketich to put the Dragons up 2-1.

Rochester drew even a final time with a power play goal of its own, with Rittner tipping in a long-distance blast by Blake Conley.

Hirschfield countered again for Lake Orion with 4:12 left in the second with another power play goal to put his team up for good at 3-2.

Joe Briskey scored on a rebound 1:18 before the end of the second for the Dragons’ 4-2 advantage, while Graham finished off a cross from Briskey with 14:32 left to play in the game for a 5-2 lead.

“In the third period, we were on the (penalty kill) for half of it. I don’t think it was anything they did, we just put ourselves in that position,” said Field. “But we did a great job with the (penalty kill) and Jack (Barker) came up and made the saves that he had to. I don’t think they had a ton of quality chances for most of the night, but when they did down the stretch Jack came up big.

“It’s early and I know it’s cliche but we’re going to take it one game at a time and not (get ahead of ourselves),” continued Field. “We’ll take it game-by-game. I think this is a good win and tomorrow is another tough game against Troy. I think there’s a lot of good teams (in the league) and a lot of parity. I think this will give us some confidence.”

Rochester’s Rittner scored with 3:56 to go to cap the scoring. United could not net a fourth or fifth goal despite holding a 30-29 shots edge, including 13-6 in the third period.

“We had to stay out of the box,” admitted first-year Rochester United coach Jason Kowalski. “We knew that. We haven’t worked on (defending) power plays that much to be honest. We’ve been working on systems and power plays ourselves and I think the penalty kill let us down a little bit. It wasn’t for a lack of effort, but penalty kill is something that we need to work on.”

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