Saline’s varsity hockey team won its ninth straight game Tuesday, defeating Novi, 6-2. Saline improved to 11-1-1.
Connor Wright led Saline with two goals and two assists. Cameron Crawford stopped 29 of 31 shots.
Novi, traditionally one of the top teams in the state, was an important test for a Hornet team that has cruised through a lighter part of the schedule.
“The start was key. We had some good energy. We had a good couple of bounces to get us on the board early and spot us that 2-0 lead,” Saline head coach Paul Fassbender said.
Saline opened the scoring midway through the first period. Mikhail Lozovyy fired a shot on net. Alexander Lozovyy fired a rebound on goal. The rebound popped out to center Yanic Sadek, who chipped it past the sprawling Duncan Lowes.
Saline kept the pressure on and was rewarded with 2:34 left in the period. Wright dumped a puck into the right wing corner. Defenseman Brendan Murphy gave chase. A Novi player got there first, but Murphy lifted his stick, stole the puck and then came out of the corner and somehow snuck a backhander through Lowes.
The Hornets got caught deep in their own end late in the first, but Cameron Crawford slammed the door, making seven saves.
Early in the second, the Hornets swarmed the Wildcats. On one shift, Collin and Griffin Clark were stymied by Lowes, who made a great sliding save to stop Clark, who briefly had a wide-open net at the side of the goal. But Novi got a bit of life from a goal that Crawford wasn’t happy with.
A Wildcat player dumped a fluttering, high puck toward the goal. Crawford attempted to catch it, but it hit his thumb and went in.
Crawford made amends by coming up with a big play a few moments later, when the Hornets, on the powerplay, gave up a breakaway. Crawford stayed with the shooter and made the stop.
As the play came back up the ice, Mikhail Lozovy made a strong move to the net and then tipped in a loose puck. Instead of being tied 2-2 after a deflating shorthanded goal, the Hornets led 3-1.
“(Cam) is a confident goaltender and confident individual. He knows he wants that one back. You can tell in his body language. But he made four or five great ones to keep us in the lead until we started putting a few more in,” Fassbender said.
Fassbender said it would have been a different game if Crawford doesn’t make that save.
The Wildcats didn’t give up, scoring a powerplay goal early in the third period to make it 3-2.
That’s when Connor Wright took over.
On the first goal, Will Wynne fired a shot from the point. It was deflected by Ben Wild. The puck kicked to Wright, who reacted quickly to one-time the puck into the goal. Wright added an empty net goal, with Wild picking up another assist.
Collin Clark made it 6-2 with a slap shot goal in the final minute.
Saline visits Grand Rapids Friday to play a tough Forest Hills team.
The Saline Post 3 Stars
- Connor Wright – Scored two goals and had two assists and played with speed throughout the night.
- Cameron Crawford – Bounced back from a tough goal and made tough saves when the Hornets broke down.
- Mikhail Lozovvy – Scored a goal. Had an assist. Nearly scored a beautiful wrap around, too.