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Brother Rice scores late, earns 2-2 tie with Northville

By: Ben Szilagy, December 15, 2015, 11:20 pm

Novi — Capitalizing off mistakes and learning from them are crucial lessons that usually come off a loss.

That wasn’t the case on Tuesday as Northville and Birmingham Brother Rice skated to a 2-2 tie at the Novi Ice Arena thanks to a late goal by Brother Rice forward Emerson Vogel.

“We spotted them a couple of goals off a couple of miscues. Northville plays a hard close defensive game where it’s hard to find space for your offense,” Brother Rice coach Lou Schmidt said.

Brother Rice (6-2-1) took a 1-0 lead when sophomore Joey Blanck scored on the doorstep with 9:54 to play in the first period.

A couple of goaltending miscues a minute later flipped the game in the Mustangs’ favor.

Northville (4-2-1) capitalized off the first miscue when senior Riley Brass stole the puck on the near side and wrapped around before slamming in the goal for a 1-1 tie. Four minutes later sophomore Jimmy Dales intercepted a clearing pass by goaltender Ryan Hoffmann for the 2-1 lead with 4:53 to play in the first period.

“We were just aggressive on the fore check,” Northville coach Jon Gates said. “We want the first guy on defense to play his man hard, even if it’s the goalie. Goalies can make mistakes. Those gloves they wear were not made for handling the puck.

“We were in the right place in the right time.”

The miscues allowed for Brother Rice senior Daniel Sendek to take over in the second period where he proved to be like a brick wall the rest of the way. Schmidt said that the decision to switch goaltenders was not based on Hoffmann’s play.

“It can take a toll on you emotionally,” He said. “Normally Ryan plays the puck pretty good. But you could tell he was a wreck after those two goals, and he needed a breather.”

On the other hand, Northville goaltender Brett Miller played a near perfect game for the Mustangs. When the defense wasn’t intercepting passes in the passing lanes, Miller offered even smaller windows when shooting lanes did present themselves.

“He’s been great all year. When he came to us this off-season, he was rusty because of an injury, but the technique was there. Brett always digs deep in games just like he did tonight,” Gates said.

Vogel made sure that Brother Rice’s unbeaten streak would extend to three games with 6:18 left in the third period.

The 5-9 senior received a pass in the slot from sophomore Dom DiPonio before he spun to his left and snuck the game tying goal under the cross bar.

“That was big for us. I was glad he was able to find the back of the net because we weren’t able to for a long time,” Schmidt said.