The referees kept the scorer’s table busy Wednesday night as Dearborn and Pioneer combined for 11 goals and 12 penalties in a game played at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube. When the dust settled, Pioneer skated away with an 8-3 win as their goal tally was equally balanced by the number of times Pioneer players paid a visit to the penalty box.
The Pioneer’s struggled to find a consistent rhythm in the early stages of the game as players were whistled four times in the first period for minor penalties.
Fittingly, Pioneer drew first blood when Jack Miling scored a shorthanded goal late in the period with Jack Martin sitting in the penalty box on a 2-minute interference call.
Coming out of the first intermission, Davis Russman got the Pioneer offense rolling with a blast that found its way to the back of the net. Freshman defender Andrew Yang and Sophomore Tristan Wilkens were credited with assists on the goal.
After killing off the fifth consecutive Dearborn power play, Pioneer’s offense exploded for three unanswered goals in less than a 3 minute stretch as the Pioneers took a commanding 5-0 lead.
Cas Mankowski, Wyatt Bullinger and Covey Hurd each recorded goals as the scoring was spread out up and down Coach Garcia’s bench.
Late in the second period, Dearborn finally made Pioneer pay for repeatedly taking penalties when their power play wore down the Pioneer penalty kill and converted a scoring chance. Dearborn later proceeded to add a second goal to make it a 5-2 game as time expired in the second period.
Whatever message Garcia delivered to his team during the second intermission, it was heard loud and clear. The Pioneers seemed significantly more focused and played lock down defense throughout the third period, holding Dearborn to a paltry five shots on goal in the final stanza.
Offensively, Bullinger collected a hat trick after adding a pair of goals in the third period. Jack Reid capped off the scoring for the Pioneers with assists coming from Mankowski and David Rudberg.
Once again senior Patrick Newton was sharp in net for the Pioneers, turning away 21 of Dearborn’s 24 shots on goal. While Pioneer closed out the game with a 31 – 24 shot advantage over the visitors from Dearborn, the number of quality scoring chances manufactured by the Pioneer offense made the game appear to be much more lopsided than the final score indicated.