The Dearborn Unified hockey team suffered an 8-0 playoff loss to the Livonia Churchill Chargers Wednesday night at the .
DU ended its season with a record of 12-12-1. The Chargers (14-10-2) will advance to the regional finals on Saturday, March 5, at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube.
Benjamin Proben, Steven Klisz, Michael Rybinski, Riley Brown, Jake Otto, Michael Kutek and Joseph Williams were among the Chargers’ goal-scorers.
The first goal came just over five minutes into the first period by Proben, who tallied two goals for the night.
Unified picked up momentum shortly after, but slowed down after captain Michael Sears was penalized, giving the Chargers their first power play of the game.
The Chargers capitalized on their man-advantage opportunity when senior Klisz scored a goal that first hit the post and then beat Dearborn’s senior goaltender Trevor Waller. The Chargers went on to score three more goals in less than three minutes heading into the second period.
“We were a little shaky from the beginning,” said Waller. “Our passes weren’t crisp and clean our defenseman and forwards weren’t connecting, and a couple goals in the first period were kind of weak. … I take credit for that.”
By the second period, head coach Mike Sears made a goalie switch and put sophomore James Grenfell between the pipes. However, a short two-on-one breakaway goal for the Chargers a minute into the second put Unified in a six-goal deficit. The Unified were unable to get a shot on goal throughout the second period as they were out-shot 27-4.
The Unified’s best performance came in the final period, but it was too little, too late. Waller was given a second chance in net because it was his last game with the Unified, according to head coach Michael Sears.
“I think the way we ended the game was pretty good,” said Sears. “I was very proud of the effort. … One of two things was going to happen: Either we were going to go out and look like a bunch of idiots, or we were going to play hard.”
Waller redeemed himself stopping 16 of 17 shots and playing until the final seconds.
“I had no idea I was going back in,” Waller said. “It was surprising … but it was like, ‘You know what? It can’t get any worse. Might as well just play it until it ends.’”
Tempers flared as game-time dwindled, but the Chargers claimed their victory with their eighth goal scored on a five-on-three power play. Livonia defenseman Williams took a shot from the top right face-off circle that ripped passed the left pad of Waller and ended the game.
“When they play together, they can make some good things happen,” said Chargers coach Pete Mazzoni. “Hopefully we’ll watch the film re-focus and get ready for whoever our next opponent is.”