HOCKEY: Saline's Season Ends in the Regional Final

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Joe Raupp skates to the net. He got the puck past Trenton's goalie - but the goal was waived off.

TRENTON -- A successful hockey season came to an end in the MHSAA Regional Final when Trenton defeated Saline, 4-0, at Kennedy Arena in Trenton.

The Hornets played a strong game against the heavy favorites. The game was scoreless after one period. Trenton only outshot Saline, 28-26. But when the Hornets gave up scoring chances, they were of the dangerous variety.  Two of Trenton's four goals were on shorthanded breakaways.

At the other end of the rink, the Hornets had shifts where they buzzed around the Trojan net, but they only beat the Trenton goalie once - a goal that was disallowed because the official ruled the net was displaced.

Tournaments being what they are, everyone but the state champion finishes the season on a disappointing losing note. But Saline coach Kyle Zagata was proud of the way his team played.

"Right now, I feel like a very full coach. I'm very happy with how we played," Zagata said. "We knew it was going to be fast. We knew it was going to be tempo. I knew we could skate with them and we did."

After a scoreless first, Trenton struck first at 51 seconds of the first period on a great shot by Nick Fields.

At 11:09 of the second, Jacob Wiseman scored.

The Hornets needed a break. They got a powerplay with 20 seconds left in the period with a chance to cut the lead in half. But the Trojans forced a neutral zone turnover and Gavin Witt scored a shorthanded goal with five seconds left in the period.

Hayden Obozza scored in the third period - on another shorthanded breakaway.

Nobody outside the Hornets' dressing room expected Saline to defeat Trenton. The loss doesn't diminish what was a great season. Zagata said he was ecstatic when assessing the season.

"From where the program was when I took over - especially having to deal with the COVID year - to where we are now, I'm ecstatic. We won our conference. We competed well within Ann Arbor. Our lost goal was to go compete for a regional and we did that," Zagata said.

Zagata had special praise for his seniors.

"My leaders, Colton Cundiff and Griffin Clark, they stepped up and were true captains. They helped me help the team. They were a huge part of our success," Zagata said, also praising the contributions of the entire senior class.

The Hornets graduate Clark, Cundiff, Avery Byron, Hayden Davis, Joe Raupp, Tommy O'Toole, Jake Honan and Julian Downey. Those are a lot of big skates to fill, but Zagata likes the underclassmen, pointing to the contributions of Mateo Iadipaolo, Aidan Rumohr, Andrew Updike, Aidan Granica and goalie Tyler Schroeder.

"I'm very happy with what we have coming back. We hope to keep building on what we've started," Zagata said.

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