Novi scores early and often, ends Hartland’s winning streak
Novi – Hartland’s six game winning streak came to an end on Wednesday.
Novi used a quick start in each of the first two periods to top the Eagles 6-4 at the Novi Ice Arena.
Novi coach Mark Vellucci said that the start was because his players had this game circled on their schedules. Hartland beat Novi last season 5-4 in a Division 2 regional final, and Novi wanted revenge.
“We came out firing on all cylinders. You could say this was a revenge game from last year’s regional final. We had this game circled in our calendar. Our boys were ready to play this one,” he said.
The Wildcats went to work at 2:46 of the first period thanks to the play of forward Brad Hofelich. Hofelich offered a touch pass from the left circle to fellow senior Pat Wojtylo, who skated in along the blue line. Wojtylo found his opening and sent a slap shot that found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
Hofelich wasted little time getting a goal of his own when Novi went on the power play with 55 seconds left of the man advantage.
Senior forward Bryan Fegert offered a cross-ice, one-timer to a waiting Hofelich who then sniped the right corner for an early 2-0 lead with his power play goal.
“The points he’s putting up aren’t just against weaker teams, but he’s doing it against the Hartlands, Brightons and Northvilles of the league. He’s really becoming a complete player,” Velucci said.
“Last year was a big year for Brad. He felt like he got slighted by not being selected for the team Michigan junior team, and he used that as motivation over the summer. He’s a gym rat who put on five pounds of muscle and has blossomed into a quiet leader for us, and has helped solidify our top line.”
Hartland (9-5) wasn’t deterred. The Eagles answered back shortly thereafter when Logan Quinn and Joe Burrill hooked up for Hartland’s first goal. After winning the faceoff Burrill pushed the puck to Quinn who raced to the slot and scored to cut Novi’s lead to 2-1 midway through the period.
Novi senior Nik Tewilliager scored to open the second before Quinn quickly answered for the Eagles 21 seconds later to make it a one-goal game, 3-2.
“Logan Quinn has a lot of speed and he skated hard all game,” Hartland coach Rick Gadwa said. “I even pointed him out in between periods that he was the only guy working. When you can pick and choose a couple of guys any say they’re skating, there is something wrong with your team.
“He was our spark plug.”
Novi (9-5) received a spark of its own courtesy of senior Nik Tewilliager. Tewilliager entered the game with eight goals and added two more plus an assist for the Wildcats.
“Nik has been a great leader for us,” Velucci said. “We have a lot of veterans and on this team, especially upfront where we have six or seven seniors. His teammates selected him (captain). It was unanimous.
“He stepped up today, I was proud. Stat-wise he could be having a better year, but his play is really starting to pick up the last two weeks.”
His second goal came with 13:09 left in the second period. Junior Andy Mizerowski skated the puck past the net, and offered a quick pass to Tewilliager who backhanded the pass for a 4-2 lead.
Novi would follow that goal with a power play goal from Brandon Kour, and a goal by senior Brendan Wexler who lifted the puck past Hartland’s goaltender as Wexler was falling to the ice for a 6-2 lead.
“Novi came out hard, and they really pressed us. We weren’t ready for that. It showed in the first two periods. You need to come ready to play. We’ve been hot and cold all year,” Gadwa said.
“But, our boys came out and kept fighting. We needed to see that. I liked to see that in our guys in the third period. They skated hard, and the game plan needed to be executed better. But, it was encouraging that they still wanted to fight.”
Hartland received a shorthanded goal midway through the period when senior Danny Smith intercepted a pass and found junior Nick Synder who scored to make it 6-3.
Sophomore Joe Burrill scored the Eagles’ final goal with 1:09 to play.
On Friday Hartland will play at White Lake Lakeland and Novi will play Northville at the Novi Ice Arena.