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Royal Oak and West Bloomfield hockey meet for second time, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 28 at St. Mary’s

By: Mike Moore | C&G Newspapers | Published January 25, 2011

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In the season’s first meeting, each team committed a few too many mistakes while simultaneously cashing in on some excellent opportunities.

The result was a 4-4 tie.

This time around, well, the game plans to success are seemingly in lockstep.

“We have to stay out of the penalty box,” West Bloomfield High hockey coach Jeff Lupu said about his squad’s Jan. 28 game against Royal Oak High, set for 7:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Ice Arena in Orchard Lake. “Last time, we took way too many penalties, and that really handicapped what we were able to do.”

“If we can find a way to stay out of the box, we’ll be much better off,” Royal Oak senior defenseman Franklin Harlick explained. “(West Bloomfield’s) strength is taking advantage of mistakes. If we come out and play smart, we’re going to limit their chances.”

Special teams did, and will, continue to play a factor in this Oakland Activities Association White Division rivalry.

In that Dec. 8 matchup, none of Royal Oak’s goals came during five-on-five play; the Ravens tallied two power-play goals and two while shorthanded.

“No excuse for giving up shorthanded goals other than we were careless with the puck,” Lupu noted. “As for the power-play goals, we got caught retaliating a few times during scrums, and that’s what did us in.”

The game carries plenty of weight for both teams, especially West Bloomfield, which following an upset win of Oxford High was just one game out of first place in the White at press time and 6-5-1 overall.

The Ravens (3-3-1), meanwhile, have been battling inconsistency all year, and as Harlick said, a win in this game could do wonders for confidence as the regular season reaches its final few weeks.

“It’s going to be a great challenge,” he added. “But it’s one I think both teams are looking forward to.”
 

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