HOCKEY: Valiant Comeback Falls Short, Pioneer Beats Saline, 5-4

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Matteo Iadipaolo scored a goal and had two assists for Saline against Pioneer Wednesday.

A valiant comeback attempt fell short as Saline's varsity ice hockey team lost to Pioneer, 5-4, at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube Wednesday.

(PHOTO GALLERY HERE)

Saline was down by scores of 3-0 and 5-2. 

The Hornets nearly tied it in the game's final minute. Saline won an offensive zone faceoff back to captain Griffin Clark, who wired a heavy wrist shot over Pioneer Julius Cass, who was a wall in goal until the game's final five minutes. He turned aside 29 of 33 shots.

Matteo Iadipaolo scored a goal and had two assists.e

Clark and Joe Raupp each finished with one goal and one assist. Giuseppe Giacalone also scored for the Hornets. Maxim Sorel and Tristan Trier also had assists. Tyler Shroeder stopped 21 of 26 shots.

Tobin Tuzinsky scored two goals and had an assist for Pioneer.

Tuzinsky's first goal came just 49 seconds into the game. 3:36 into the contest, Pioneer went up 2-0 when Marcus Wilson scored on a 2-on-1. The goal came after 40 seconds of solid pressure and cycling in the Pioneer end - but a breakdown gave Pioneer a great scoring chance. Early in the second period Tyler Wilkins scored to make it 3-0, Pioneer. In the opening minute of third period, Thomas Kreske scored to make it 4-0.

By this point in the contest, it would have been easy for the Hornets to be frustrated. The Hornets were outshooting the Pioneers, but down 4-0.  The lanky Pioneer goalie, the main reason the Pioneers were able to tie Saline the first time these teams met this season, was even better on this night, kicking out pucks and snapping pucks out of the air with his glove. In particular, Cass was very good on a second-period Saline powerplay that was orchestrated masterfully by Clark. But ultimately, Cass held the Hornets at bay.

Cass continued his strong play in the third and looked like he might vex the Hornets all night.

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But seconds after Raupp's powerplay opportunity was swept away just as it was about to slide over the goal line, Clark scored from the left side of the goal. Saline was down 4-1.

Saline scored another powerplay marker midway through the period when Raupp scored from the slot after taking a centering pass from Clark.

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But less than two minutes later, Tuzinsky scored on a goal-mouth scramble to give Pioneer a 5-2 lead with 5:39 to play.

Iadipaolo scored an unassisted goal from the slot with 2:31 to play. The Hornets' pulled the goalie for an extra attacker and Giacalone scored to make it 5-4.

The Hornets had several chances to tie it in the final 1:50. The best chance was a shot off the faceoff by Griffin Clark.

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