In a thrilling start to their hockey season, the Clarkston Wolves emerged victorious with a 2-1 win over last year’s Division 3 champions, the Flint Powers Catholic Chargers.
Head coach Nathan Bryer expressed his satisfaction with the win, acknowledging the formidable reputation of their opponents, saying, “It feels good. They’re a team that has had a lot of success in the last 10 years, and they’re obviously fresh off a state championship. So with our schedule this year, every night is hard. We kind of got thrown into it a little bit, and we did well.”
The turning point of the game occurred in the second period when Clarkston scored both of their goals within a remarkable 68 seconds. Trailing 1-0, the Wolves leveled the game with 8:10 remaining in the period as Ron Wade won a crucial faceoff, allowing Owen Croston to seize the puck and deliver a precision shot into the top right corner. Just over a minute later, Kyle Lynch sliced across the zone in a transition play, unleashing a rapid shot into the top left corner to give Clarkston the lead.
Clarkston’s stout defense played a pivotal role throughout the match, limiting the Chargers to just 20 shots on goal, including a mere five shots in each of the first two periods. The only goal Powers Catholic managed to muster came early in the game, as Ayden Cook found the net from close range during a delayed penalty situation. Goalkeeper Brady Damian exhibited a stellar performance for Clarkston, making 19 saves and crucial stops when needed, with a standout moment being a breakaway save with 10:34 left in the second period when Powers was still leading 1-0.
Coach Bryer emphasized the importance of defensive prowess, stating, “That’s what we start with every year. We start with our defensive zone because, at the end of the day, championship teams defend well. That’s probably the system and the part of the game that we’ve been working on the most through the first two and a half weeks of practices, and it showed tonight. I think that’s also a testament to our leadership and guys buying in.”
With this victory, Clarkston kicks off the season with a 1-0 record. The Wolves will return to the ice on Saturday night for their league opener, facing off against Rochester United in an Oakland Activities Association Red matchup.