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Win will last a lifetime for Cadillac

Four juniors score in Vikings' 4-0 victory over Big Rapids

Wednesday, 12.19.2012 / 7:38 PM ET / Recap
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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Win will last a lifetime for Cadillac
Cadillac forward Daniel Gischia battles Big Rapids defenseman Zack Cox for the puck during the first period of Wednesday game at Joe Louis Arena. (Photo by Bill Roose/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – Two shorthanded goals during the same third-period shift created enough breathing room for Cadillac’s Scott Graham, who may have gotten more out of coaching at Joe Louis Arena than his players did from playing in the Red Wings’ home on Wednesday afternoon.

“I was lucky as a kid to have played at Olympia Stadium as a squirt in 1977,” Graham said. “As a youngster I know that I didn’t have a grasp and a gravity of the opportunity to play. These guys being at the age that they are … I don’t know if they really have a grasp. But some day they will have a better recollection and a memory compared to what I had.”

Goals by four different juniors paved the way for the Vikings who cruised to a memorable 4-0 win over Big Rapids in the opening game of High School Hockey at The Joe. The win was the Vikings’ second over Big Rapids this season.

The two teams were originally scheduled to play outdoors at Comerica Park as part of the Winter Festival this week. But the game, along with three others involving metro Detroit schools, were moved to JLA.

Cadillac dominated Wednesday’s game, but only led 1-0 throughout most of the first two periods. Still solid play from the defensive pairings of Patrick Briggs and Blake Ford, and Levi Rowen (one assist) and Josh Beard (one assist) allowed Cadillac to maintain puck-possession in the offense zone where its forwards had ample scoring chances.

“Ultimately our best defense was our offense today,” Graham said. “We spoke after the first period and I thought we had a lot of things to tighten up. We had a lot of jitters at times despite out-shooting them, 12-5.”

Cadillac finished with 30 shots, compared to Big Rapids’ 10.

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Despite the edge in shots, the Vikings managed to beat Big Rapids starting goalie J.D. Horvath once when Briggs fired a shot from the point at 5:17 of the opening period.

The Vikings held onto their 1-0 lead until center Spencer Graham ripped a shot from the right circle that beat backup goalie Joey Hinds with 28 seconds left in the second. Sophomore forward Keenan Kolarik (two assists) and senior forward Daniel Gischia assisted on Graham’s goal was his team-leading sixth of the season.

The Cardinals (0-9-1) had their best scoring chance when freshman forward Jordan Smith stole the puck in the neutral zone and skated in a Cadillac goalie P.J. Nemish. Smith’s shot from the right circle beat Nemish, but ricocheted off the crossbar with 6:13 left in the second.

“It sounded pretty good,” said Nemish, of the sound made by the crossbar. “I mean, he shot it, I shrugged, it went just over the shoulder and I heard the post. I felt pretty good and aligned, felt like I was on my game.”

The game’s outcome was sealed when forwards Brett Farley and Ryan Morse scored shorthanded goals just 16-seconds apart for the Vikings, who improved to 4-5-0 on the season. For Farley, that was his first goal of the season.

“Anytime you can get some shorties on the board, especially two on one shift, it was really a bonus,” Graham said. “And to come from those two guys, Brett and Ryan Morse was certainly a bonus on top of it. That’s some of the balance that we haven’t seen in a long time.”

While not surprised by anything that Cadillac did, Big Rapids coach Tim Blashill said it was difficult to overcome the Vikings’ intensity.

“Their game plan is simple: They get the puck deep and they beat us to the puck,” Blashill said. “They kept it in our zone and we’re working for a minute to get it out, and at that point you’re too tired to create any offense.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 248 187 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 237 199 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 245 224 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 217 204 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 227 248 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 212 223 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 176 209 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 183 219 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
H. Zetterberg 77 17 49 -6 66
P. Datsyuk 63 26 39 12 65
T. Tatar 82 29 27 6 56
G. Nyquist 82 27 27 -11 54
J. Abdelkader 71 23 21 3 44
N. Kronwall 80 9 35 -4 44
R. Sheahan 79 13 23 -3 36
D. Helm 75 15 18 7 33
D. DeKeyser 80 2 29 11 31
S. Weiss 52 9 16 -2 25
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Howard 23 13 11 .910 2.44
P. Mrazek 16 9 2 .918 2.38

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