BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Icers hung up their skates, jerseys and helmets after closing the season to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Prep in the MHSAA Hockey Division 1 Region 5 playoff game on Saturday.
The Clarkston Varsity Hockey team lost the game, 6-2.
“It was a very competitive game,” said Karl Daiek, head coach. “Though the score might show it was one sided it was really pretty close.”
The Eaglets led 3-2 going into the final period after senior Wolves Ryan Bolio and Austin McKay scored one goal each to close the gap.
“We had a couple of guys lose that mental toughness,” said Daiek. “We lost two of our top players. They took a 2-minute penalty, then they took a 10-minute penalty for misconduct. They were both gone for 12 minutes and that’s the game. We were scrambling and trying to mix and match players.”
He added ending the season to St. Mary’s will help next year’s returners.
“For me, it shows we can play with that caliber of a team,” Daiek said. “We were up and down the ice with them. It was 3-2 so we can compete on that level. For me, the other thing you take out of it is you can’t lose focus on the play. When you lose focus those teams will capitalize on it.”
The Wolves won the regional semifinals against Walled Lake Central/Waterford United with a 9-1 win, Feb. 28.
Senior Danny Milano opened with the first goal 22 seconds into the game with an assist from senior Brendan Walk.
Bolio flicked the puck into the net with 3:42 remaining in the first period after senior Nik Highducheck passed it to him, closing the period 2-0.
They scored two more goals in the next period after Walled Lake Central/Waterford United opened with one goal. Goals came from Bolio and junior Cameron Thomas, with assists from senior Austin McKay, senior Sindre Simonsen and sophomore Ryan Galligan.
The Wolves finished the season with an 19-7 overall record.
“It certainly was a successful season,” Daiek said, adding from a coach’s standpoint there were things the team could have done differently.
The team graduates seniors: Ryan Bolio, Jackson Cooper, Trevor Gilman, Nik Highducheck, Austin McKay, Danny Milano, Sindre Simonsen, Drew Stark, Brendan Tungol and Brendan Walk.
“We had some seniors with the program all three of my years,” Daiek said, adding two seniors played for the team for four years. “The legacy to me is of determination and never quit atmosphere. Winston Churchill once said ‘success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is courage to continue that counts.’ It is easy to look and say I don’t want to do this again, it was embarrassing. But to stick with it and reap some of the rewards like last year 15 wins was a good step. This year 19 wins, another good step. It’s a sign of kids are willing to stick it out. For the guys here 3-4 years that’s their legacy, and they built it to what it is today.”