Riverview Gabriel Richard got off to a hot start, and kept Southgate Anderson at bay to hold on to a 5-1 victory in a Division 3 pre-regional matchup at Yack Arena in Wyandotte on Tuesday night.
Zach Slowik, Josh Wiseman, Jacob Christensen, Chance DeSana and Frank Klamerus scored for the Pioneers (7-17-2) who advanced to face Riverview on Thursday, back in Wyandotte.
Anderson (8-15-1) goaltender Brendan Rafferty was peppered with 47 shots, but was able to make 42 saves in the contest.
Rafferty’s counterpart in net, Richard’s Drew Adams, stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced all night.
The Pioneers got off to a fast start, notching three goals in the first eight minutes and 23 seconds of play.
Slowik beat Rafferty less than two minutes into the game, and Wiseman scored 21 seconds later to make the score 2-0 in favor of Richard.
Devin Slaughter and Evan Johnson assisted on the Slowik goal, while DeSana and Jacob Emery tallied assists on the Wiseman goal.
Christensen scored his goal unassisted six seconds after exiting the penalty box following an interference penalty.
The period ended with the 3-0 Pioneers lead intact.
Each team scored a goal in the second period, with DeSana notching his off a pass from Nathen Vazuez. Wiseman was credited with the second assist on the DeSana goal.
Up 4-0, the Pioneers chance for a shutout was thwarted when Adam Murray beat Adams just one second after the Titans killed off a Pioneers power play. The goal was unassisted.
The third period began with Richard up 4-1 and Anderson’s hope to get back into the game quickly fell to the wayside as Klamerus put the Pioneers up by four goals again, at the 3:42 mark of the period.
Alex Comorski picked up the lone assist on the Klamerus goal.
“We just wanted to play really defensive in the third period,” said Richard Coach Rick DeSana.
“I thought Anderson battled hard. I give their coach Joey Mathews a tremendous amount of credit for what he’s done with that team this year.”
Richard will face in-city rival Riverview on Thursday in the semifinals, back in Wyandotte. The Pioneers defeated the young Pirates in their only matchup this season, which was a 9-2 victory for Richard at its Christmas Tournament in late December.
As for the Titans, they managed eight victories this year despite having quite a bit of inexperience on the roster and facing early struggles to even put a squad together for 2016-17.
“When we had our first tryout this year, we only had seven players show up,” said Mathews. “Back in November, we didn’t think we would have a team. We had six guys who’ve never played hockey in their lives before this year.”
The winner of the Riverview vs. Richard game will face Dearborn Divine Child for the Division 3, Region 23 championship on Saturday in Ann Arbor.