Warriors begin inaugural season

— After spending 2009-10 as the Marquette Rangers, the Michigan Warriors of the North American Hockey League finally got their initial win since taking up residence at Genesee County’s Perani Arena, beating the Aberdeen (Md.) Wings, 6-0, last Thursday.

Opening up the action for Michigan at 8:07 of the first period unassisted was Zakerie Thompson, a feat teammates Patrick Gregory and Justin Hoomaian matched at 7:45 and 6:24 with help from Hoomaian and Michael Szuma, respectively. When Hoomaian’s goal came on the powerplay, that marked the first of four consecutive man advantage scores to round out the evening’s offense for the Warriors, the next of which came with five seconds left in the opening session off the stick of Brad Chapman unassisted.

As the third period turned out to be a scoreless affair, Ryan Trenz connected for Michigan at 3:34 of the second on the Chapman assist to give the Warriors a 5-0 advantage, leaving Tyler Perpich’s goal with less than two minutes left in the stanza to finish off the game’s offensive output. Defensively, Broch Tiller helped set the pace for Michigan with 31 saves.

The Warriors were in Owatonna (Minn.) last Saturday to take on the Express, winning, 6-4.

With leads of 4-0 and 5-1 at the end of the first and second periods, getting the party started at 15:55 of the opening session for Michigan on the powerplay was Scott Henegar on the assists by Hoomaian and Thompson, which Thompson followed exactly a minute later with a goal of his own on the pass from Ian Miller.

Almost 30 seconds after that Miller got his turn to shine with help from AJ White and Trenz to give the Warriors a 3-0 lead, a margin that stood for over seven minutes until Alex Ostrowski hit nothing but net for Michigan on the Henegar and Bodette assists. In the second the Warriors were even able to extend their advantage to 5-0 when Kevin Bechard scored unassisted at the 17:02 mark, leading to a three-goal explosion by the Express from Ben Persian at 6:48 of the second and Marian Fiala and Chris Bournazos at 18:58 and 17:37 of the third, all of which came with a man advantage. That left the two teams to trade goals before time expired, with Michigan’s score coming unassisted at 10:37 from Bechard. In net, Tiller came through for the Warriors with 33 saves.

Michigan once again took its home ice last Friday when Kenai River (Ala.) paid a visit, but after the first and second period ended with the game still knotted in a scoreless tie, the Warriors were outshot, 11-1, in the third by the Brown Bears to end up on the wrong side of a 1-0 decision. With Michigan posting 16 penalty minutes, including 10 in the second period, compared to 14 by Kenai River, notching the game’s only offense was Doug Beck on the power play at 19:39 of the third on passes from Erik Persson and Brad Duwe. Between the pipes Lapeer product Robert Tadazak still looked strong for Michigan despite the outcome, making 25 saves.

The 2010-11 season actually began for the Warriors on Sept. 15 in Amarillo (Tx.), where Michigan fell 4-3 after the Bulls jumped out to a 2-0 lead on scores from Derek Hills and Joe Kozlak at 17:51 and 8:17 of the first period. Michigan did come back to tie the game when Hoomaian hit paydirt at 3:45 of the first on the pass by Trenz and Tadazak posted the ever-elusive goaltender’s score less than a minute into the second on the Chapman and Eli Davis assists, but Amarillo’s Chris Cass returned fire on the powerplay at 8:03 of the second to put the Bulls up, 3-2. It took almost four minutes for Perpich to lock the game up once again for the Warriors at 4:22 of the second with help from White, but the Wings Kozlak turned out to be more than Michigan could handle, hitting the game winner at 7:15 of the third.

With Tadazak making good on 19-of- 23 defensive stops, Michigan hosts Springfield on Sept. 24, 25 and 26, with the first two popping off at 7 p.m. and the third at 2 p.m.

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