Quietly, the Saline varsity hockey team has manufactured a stellar start to the season.
Saline defeated Skyline, 6-1, Wednesday at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. The victory gave Saline a 7-0 record before the Christmas break.
The “third line” of Tom Raupp, Yanic Sadek and Mikhail Lozovyy combined for four goals and six assists for the Hornets. Lozovyy and Sadek each scored twice and added two assists. Mason Ausmus and Alex Birkle also scored for the Hornets.
Coach Paul Fassbender said Saline’s offensive depth is paying dividends.
“Last year it seemed like we relied too much on one line. We got a little tired and worn out by the time we got to the semifinals and we kind of ran out of steam. We wanted to have more scoring depth this year and you’re starting to see it. If you shut down one line, you’ve still got other lines capable of beating you,” Fassbender said.
Despite the 6-1 victory, Fassbender felt his team was a little sloppy.
“We were coming off two lopsided wins and today we faced a good Skyline team. We were trying things that might work against a lesser team, but a lot of those little plays didn’t work today against a team that doesn’t give you time and space,” Fassbender said.
Goalie Cam Crawford stopped 19 of 20 shots. Saline fired 22 shots on Skyline’s goalie Tommy Letke.
Lozovyy scored the game’s only goal early in the first period.
Sadek made it 2-0 2:10 into the second period. Raupp skated up the right wing and centered it through a defenseman to Sadek who chipped the puck past Letke. It was Sadek’s first goal of the season.
The Hornets took a three-goal lead while playing shorthanded. The Hornets forced a turnover in the neutral zone, creating a two-on-one. Logan Dejanovich fed Ausmus to put him in the clear, but he lost the handle on the puck. Still, he regained control of the puck and somehow, from the side of the goal, put it past Letke for a 3-0 lead. Jack Eberts also collected an assist.
On the same powerplay Skyline got on the scoreboard. Crawford stopped a shot from the slot but the rebound squirted loose and Skyline’s Sei Nakamura banged it into the goal.
Sadek’s goal came on a pretty pass from Ausmus at the point with 4:48 to play in the period.
Saline took a 5-1 lead 3:48 into the third period. Raupp nearly undressed two defenders as he charged up the middle of the ice. He was able to fire a shot on goal. Lozovyy whacked the rebound out of midair and into the goal.
Three minutes later the captain, Alex Birkle, scored. Ausmus and Brendan Murphy picked up the points.
The Saline Post 3 Stars:
- Yanic Sadek – The small center showed good finishing ability and terrific passing ability on his way to a four-point night.
- Mikhail Lozovyy – The rangy winger continues to show great hands in tight. He, too, had two goals and two assists.
- Cam Crawford – Mason Ausmus and Tom Raupp deserve mention, but Cam Crawford played a strong game and sometimes Saline goalies don’t get the credit they deserve.