THIS ARTICLE IS FROM THE OAKLAND PRESS 1/23/2020
BLOOMFIELD HILLS – The Lake Orion Dragons clinched the OAA Red title by exploding for six goals in the second period and rolling to an 8-0 win over the M-1 Griffins Unified.
After a scoreless first period, the Dragons found another gear from the opening puck drop of the second period. Lake Orion got on the board just 24 seconds into the period when Zach Rose found Kade Manzo in front of the net for a point-blank redirection and a 1-0 Dragons lead.
Just 37 seconds later, captain Thomas Reath made it 2-0 from the low slot with Rose and Manzo picking up the assists, and the Dragons were off and running.
“Our skill was definitely there in the first period, but I don’t think our effort was all there,” Reath, a team captain, said. “He (head coach Adam Krefski) gave a good speech in between the periods about our effort. We came out strong the second period, and it was there. We played really good.”
Lake Orion would go on to score five goals in the first 8:29 of the period – all of them from inside of six feet and the Dragons repeatedly crashed in low against M-1 goaltender Ross Koerber. Koerber had stopped 17 shots in the first period and was playing well. But once the Dragons started getting clean looks from in close, the goals started to come.
“They were cycling the puck really well on us in the offensive zone. We tried to keep it tight and get sticks in lanes, but they’re a good team. They capitalized and showed why they’re the league champions,” Griffins head coach Paul Fox said.
The Griffins had played a solid first period, led by the play of David Laramee. After a hot start from Lake Orion, M-1 settled down and started creating chances of their own, including three clean looks late in the period only to be stoned by Lake Orion goalie Lucas Haddad, who finished the game with 19 saves.
Virtually every goal Lake Orion scored on the night was from point blank range, and the Dragons spread it around.
“They have a tremendous goalie, an outstanding goalie, and he stood on his head that first period. I think we had 17 shots on him in that period. I feel like in the second period all of those goals came from within three to five feet of him, so we were crashing the net and getting our second chance opportunities, like we wanted to do in the first period,” Krefski said. “To beat good goalies you’re going to have to do that – cause traffic, get second chance opportunities, and that’s what we’ve been harping on all year,” he added.
Lake Orion’s attack was balanced as Brendan Finn and Brendan Bajis each had two goals while four other players scored once. In all, 12 different Dragons had at least one point.
The division title is Lake Orion’s third in the last four years.
“It means a lot,” Reath said. “My first year playing here we got it. Last year, we weren’t able to get it. But it means a lot being a senior and the boys competing like they did today.”