Pioneers News · Pioneers Hockey Falls to Woodhaven


It had been 268 days since Riverview Gabriel Richard shut out Woodhaven in a Division 3 regional final, ending their season and launching the Pioneers to the state quarterfinals.

Woodhaven got its revenge on Wednesday night as the host Warriors topped Richard 5-1 in a dominating victory at Brownstown Sports Center.

Two goals in the first four minutes of the contest set the tone for a first period that was all Woodhaven.

Warriors coach Bryan Sullivan said last season’s ending wasn’t a rallying point for his team, but that some of the returning players may have felt it.

“I won’t say that they didn’t remember it, because I’m sure they did,” Sullivan said. “The one thing we made sure of was they understood we didn’t score in that game. We’re a much better, different-looking team top to bottom than we were last year.”

Junior, Nathan Vasquez

The Warriors (4-1-0, 2-0 Metro East) got on the board 2:50 into the game when senior Carsen MacDonell scored his third goal of the season with assists from captain Zach Robinson and Joey Closser.

Just a minute later, senior forward Carson Foradori netted his fifth goal of the season with assists from Robinson and MacDonell to put the Pioneers in a two-goal deficit.

Chances kept coming for Woodhaven’s offense for the remainder of the period. With a second remaining before intermission, junior defenseman Nick Clemens scored the first goal of his high school career with an assist from Dylan Gajewski.

After just 17 minutes, Woodhaven held a 3-0 lead after outshooting the Pioneers 18-1.

“We did some watching opposed to playing,” said Richard coach Rick DeSana. “And when that happens, the puck ends up in the back of your net pretty quick.”

Sullivan believed the hot first period was a product of his team’s energy level.

“They came out fired up,” he said. “To be honest, we should’ve had more than three (goals) in the first period. I thought they played that well. We had that many good chances.

“To come out and play like that, I was very happy.”

Closser netted the first goal of his senior season late in the second period with assists from Gajewski and Nick Owczarzak to stretch Woodhaven’s lead to four. Robinson added his team-leading ninth goal of the season midway through the third.

Junior, Drew Adams

Richard’s lone goal came off the stick of junior forward Nathan Vasquez in the final minutes of the game. Vasquez is one of several players back from a Pioneers squad that reached the state semifinals last winter.

Junior goalie Drew Adams ended the game with 41 saves for Richard in the loss.

The Pioneers will look to bounce back on Wednesday, Dec. 5 with a home game against University of Detroit Jesuit. Woodhaven was set to play again just 24 hours later, as it was scheduled for a trip to Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett.