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Cranbrook-Kingswood comes back, then holds on to defeat St. Mary's

Hockey   | Ben Szilagy

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Bloomfield Hills - Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood is one of the hottest teams in the state and the Cranes are making a case to be one of the best teams in the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League.

The Cranes helped solidify their case with a 4-2 victory over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s on Wednesday at Cranbrook-Kingswood.

“The two points are important, but it’s always a nice gauge of where you’re at before a holiday break,” Cranbrook-Kingswood coach Andrew Weidenbach said. “Games against good opponents, like the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s out there, always help you find where your team is early in the season, and we played well.”

The Eaglets (3-4) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a goal by forward Alex Frye with 8:22 left in the first period.

However, the game changed in the second period due to a new rule implemented for player safety. After a St. Mary’s player checked a Cranbrook-Kingswood player in the back, the Cranes (9-1) went on a five-minute power play.

Before this season the penalty (check, cross-check, elbow, charge or trip an opponent) was a two-minute minor. It is now a five-minute major.

“That penalty was definitely a factor for us, and it can be costly. We always look to have someone in front of the net and create some tough angles so we can pepper the goalie and create opportunities,” Weidenbach said.

“But behind short-handed took some wind out of their sails.”

With the man advantage with a minute and a half into the second period, Cranbrook-Kingswood wasted little time, and went on the offensive.

Defenseman Dylan Deogun offered a shot from the point, which was redirected by forward Mason Schultz to tie the game, 1-1, four seconds into the power play.

After Cranbrook took a 2-1 lead from a Jack Blumberg power play goal, the Cranes build off its lead for its third power play goal in the period.

Defensman Johnny Wager offered a shot that was turned away. Riley Matthews quickly passed the rebound in front of the net to Sean Talamonti who roofed a wrist shot for a 3-1 lead.

Weidenbach attributed those three goals to a change in strategy between the first and second period when his team became more aggressive around the blue line.

St. Mary’s stemmed the tide and capitalized off a power play goal of its own when defensemen Ethan Fox offered a shot that Vince Marino redirected for a goal that cut into the Cranes’ lead, 3-2.

The Eaglets had an opportunity to tie the game five minutes into the third period when Nick Borellis put away a rebound, but the goal was waived off.

The Cranes would then earn an insurance goal in the third period when Austin Alger raced down the ice with five seconds to play to score on an empty net for a 4-2 lead.

Cranbrook-Kingswood looks to extend its winning streak to six with a game against Birmingham Brother Rice on Saturday at Oak Park.