Gabriel Richard led Grosse Ile by just one goal more than halfway through Friday night’s regional championship game at Wyandotte’s Yack Arena.
But a four-goal barrage inside the final six minutes of the period guided Richard to a 6-1 victory in Division 3, Region 24 final.
With the win, Richard (14-10-1) captured its second consecutive regional crown and advanced to the state quarterfinals.
For the Pioneers, Nathan Vazquez finished with a hat trick while Chance DeSana scored twice and had one assist. In addition, Jake Emery picked up three assists in the victory over the Red Devils (15-9-1).
Vazquez opened the scoring with an unassisted goal two and a half minutes into the second period.
With exactly 5:36 left in the period, DeSana scored for Richard to put his squad up 2-0. He was assisted by Emery and Gavin Fink.
About a minute later, Austin Harrison lit the lamp to give the regional hosts a three-goal advantage. Assists on his goal went to Emery and Zach Slowik.
Vazquez struck twice inside the final minute of the period, which capped off his hat trick and all but put the game out of reach. Fink and Vinny Sensoli assisted on the first goal, which came with 50 seconds left. Desana and Slowik picked up assists on the other goal, which was netted 27 seconds later.
Desana added to the Richard lead with a goal early in the third period, assisted by Emery.
Grosse Ile was able to avoid a shutout, thanks to a third-period goal from Cody Keenan. An assist went to Chris Mihai.
For the Devils, it wrapped up what was their second consecutive 15-win season. The squad claimed its third Huron League title in as many years, as well.
Grosse Ile has also had one of the state’s most prolific scorers the past two seasons with Mihai. He wrapped up 2018-19 with 45 goals and 35 assists.
In goal on Friday night, the Pioneers’ Drew Adams made 16 saves in 17 chances while Cainan Harrison saw time, as well, and finished with two saves.
Devils netminder Carter Pattenaude stopped 30 of the 36 shots fired at him.
Next up for Richard is a state quarterfinal game on Wednesday against either Cabrini-Annapolis or Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard at Dearborn Ice Skating Center. The game is set to start at 6:50 p.m.
The winner of Wednesday’s game will advance to the state semifinals at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth. The Pioneers reached the semis last year