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Detroit Compuware caps tourney with title

By Russell Jaslow, 04/04/07, 4:45PM MDT


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Detroit Compuware Tier I 12 & Under team was a tough one to slow this tournament. The Colorado Thunderbirds tried their best to do just that, but Detroit continued to roll at USA Hockey's National Championship.

Detroit jumped out to an early lead and had to hold off Colorado, which refused to go away, en route to a 5-3 victory. Along the way, Compuware scored 36 goals in six games, while giving up just eight.

"They're really tough because they have so many good passers and very good finishers," Colorado head coach Kent Murphy said of Detroit. "We tried to get backchecking help and to play more of the game in their end, but we weren't too successful, especially in the beginning."

The first two goals by Detroit were accomplished in similar style. Both were on two-on-ones and, in each case, the player with the puck on the left side passed it across to a teammate who one-timed it past the goaltender.

Drew Dorantes netted the first on a pass from Joseph Cox at 3:14, while Charles Green picked up the second on an assist from Brady Vail at 5:31.

"I thought we came out really aggressive," Detroit head coach Andy Copp said. "We wanted to come out and really take charge of the game right away. And I thought we did that with our forechecking in the first period. We were physical and we were quick on the puck in their zone, and that created a lot of opportunities to get us a lead."

Despite being outplayed at the start and, more important, being outskated, Colorado didn't fold. They got one of the goals back at 9:39 by throwing a slew of bodies at the net and Matias Cleland was able to knock a loose puck in.

"That Colorado team is a good attacking team," Copp said. "They caused us a lot of problems in our zone, especially late in the game. They were always putting two and three guys on the puck. They had us bottled down in our zone a lot and hats off to them. They did a nice job of that."

The second period saw Detroit extend its lead -- twice. Travis Hindle scored after a quick reversal of fortune. Colorado had applied constant pressure, but a quick outlet pass from Wayland Williams found Hindle at center ice. He went in alone, straight at the goal, and took a shot immediately to beat the goalie.

Christian Heil answered for Colorado. No one picked him up on the power play and his shot squeezed through. Detroit's Ryan Lowney made it 4-2, taking a cross-ice pass from Vail and easily shooting it in.

Vail made it 5-2 early in the third. Again, despite the deficit, Colorado never gave up. They made it 5-3 on a Quentin Shore shot from up high that the goaltender had trouble seeing.

"That Colorado team just would not go away," Copp said. "We had a two-goal lead a lot, but it didn't feel like that. They are a dangerous team. We had to play really well."

Murphy said, "You had two really good teams that really battled hard."

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc.