Trenton Hockey Sinks Ann Arbor Pioneer; Progress to the regional final with PHOTOGALLERY | MIPrepZone
In preparation for the Thursday night playoff hockey showdown between Ann Arbor Pioneer and Trenton, a history lesson is in place – so grab your books and a pencil – and a hockey stick.
In the 2017/18 season, Trenton beat Pioneer 6-0 in a regional final. The Trojans reached the state finals, where they lost 4-2 to Hartland.
The following year, Trenton eliminated Pioneer in the first regional game with 2-1. The Trojans lost again 4-0 against Hartland in the state final.
And last season Trenton beat Pioneer 4-0 in a regional first-round match. The Trojans were set to play Hartland in a state semi-final game as the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season.
Welcome to the present and a 2020-21 regional first round game between Pioneer and Trenton. If history teaches us anything, it repeats itself often, and that is exactly what happened at the Kennedy Recreation Center in Trenton.
The Pioneers took a 1-0 lead early in the game, but from then on it was all Trenton (11-7) as the Trojans ran away in a 9-4 win to advance to the regional final. The Trojans play against Ann Arbor Skyline in Kennedy on Saturday. The Eagles defeated Saline 5-1 on Thursday evening in the first regional semi-final game in Kennedy.
Pioneer’s Ethan Kotre scored a goal, assisted by Liam Schaefer, to bring the Pioneers (11-3-1) into play at the start of the first half. But it didn’t take long.
Less than 10 seconds later, Trenton’s Rory Szczepaniak, with the support of Ian Bannett, drew 1-1. This wouldn’t be the last time Trenton would respond instantly to a pioneer goal.
At 5:43 a.m. of the first half, Trenton, assisted by Brad Nemeth, took a 2-1 lead on a goal from Nickolas Fields. A few minutes later, the Trojans took a 3-1 lead with a goal from Xavier Gradinscak with assists from Micah Kneiding and Collin Preston.
Trenton led 3-1 on one.
The goals came quickly and furiously in a wild second period.
At 4:46 p.m. Preston scored the 4-1 with support from Fields.
But the pioneers came right back and scored a goal from Kotre at 12:55 with the support of Jack Ceccacci to make it 4-2.
It didn’t last long. As in the first phase, Trenton reacted immediately – this time less than a minute later. Ryan Stanley extended the lead to 5-2 with the support of Fields and Caleb Kneiding.
The Trojans took the lead 6-2 after Zach Anderson scored a 10:49 goal with support from Carter Allen and Stanley.
Pioneer’s Ceccacci scored a goal in power play with assists from Kotre and Sean
Fitzgerald to reduce the deficit to 6-3 at 9:17 in the second period.
After 6 minutes, Trenton scored again. Stanley scored his second goal that season from Brendan Shaw to push the 7-3 lead back to four goals.
Determined to stick with this game, the pioneers reacted again. Fitzgerald’s Kotre scored his third game to cut the deficit to 7-4 with 2:52 in the remaining time.
In the third half, Trenton missed any chance of a comeback when Anderson, with the help of Hayden Oboza, scored his second goal, making it 8-4 at 12:20.
Only 4 seconds left, Trentons Szczepaniak scored from Mikey Mace to 9: 4.
For the night, Trenton overtook Pioneer 39-26.
In goal, Luc Miklos made 22 saves for the Trojans, while Pioneer’s Elliot Davis stopped 30 saves.
Trenton’s regional championship game against Skyline will take place on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Kennedy. The winner of this game will play Novi or Livonia Stevenson in the quarter-finals of the D2 state on Tuesday, March 23rd at the Dearborn Ice Skating Center.