To help set up Thursday night’s playoff hockey showdown between Pioneer and Trenton a history lesson is in order – so grab your books and a pencil – and a hockey stick.
In the 2017-18 season, Trenton knocked off Pioneer 6-0 in a Regional Final. The Trojans reached the state finals where they lost 4-2 to Hartland.
The following year, Trenton eliminated Pioneer 2-1 in the first game of Regionals. The Trojans lost again to Hartland in the state finals 4-0.
And last season, Trenton knocked out Pioneer 4-0 in a first-round Regional game. The Trojans were scheduled to play Hartland in a state semifinal game when the pandemic ended the season.
Welcome to the present and a 2020-21 first-round Regional game between Pioneer and Trenton. If history teaches us anything it’s that it often repeats itself and that’s exactly what happened at Kennedy Arena in Trenton.
WLAA HOCKEY PHOTO GALLERIES
The Pioneers scored early in the game to take a 1-0 lead but from then on it was all Trenton as the Trojans skated off with a 9-4 victory to advance to the Regional final. The Trojans will play Skyline on Saturday at Kennedy. The Eagles defeated Saline 5-1 in the first Regional game at Kennedy on Thursday night.
Pioneer’s Ethan Kotre, with an assist from Liam Schaefer, scored to put the Pioneers on the board early in the first period. But it didn’t last long.
Less than 10 seconds later, Trenton’s Rory Szczepaniak scored with an assist from Ian Bannett to tie the game at 1-1. This wouldn’t be the last time Trenton would respond right away to a Pioneer goal.
At 5:43 of the first period, Trenton took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Nickolas Fields with an assist from Brad Nemeth. A few minutes later, the Trojans went ahead 3-1 on a goal by Xavier Gradinscak with assists from Micah Kneiding and Collin Preston.
Trenton led 3-1 after one.
The goals came fast and furious in a wild second period.
At 16:46, Preston scored with an assist from Fields to make it 4-1.
But the Pioneers came right back and scored at 12:55 on a goal by Kotre with an assist from Jack Ceccacci to make it 4-2.
It didn’t stay that way for long. Just like in the first period, Trenton responded right away – this time less than a minute later. Ryan Stanley, with assists from Fields and Caleb Kneidling, pushed the lead to 5-2.
The Trojans took a 6-2 lead on a goal by Zach Anderson, with assists from Carter Allen and Stanley, with 10:49 left in the period.
WLAA HOCKEY PHOTO GALLERIES
Pioneer’s Ceccacci scored on the power play, with assists from Kotre and Sean Fitzgerald, to cut the deficit to 6-3 with 9:17 left in the second period.
But with 6 minutes left in the period, Trenton scored again. Stanley scored his second of the period, from Brendan Shaw, to push the lead back to four goals at 7-3.
The Pioneers were determined to stay in this game and responded again. Kotre, from Fitzgerald, scored his third of the game to cut the deficit to 7-4 with 2:52 left in the period.
In the third period, Trenton put away any chance for a comeback when Anderson scored his second of the night with an assist from Hayden Oboza to make it 8-4 with 12:20 left in the game.
With 4 seconds left in the game, Trenton’s Szczepaniak scored from Mikey Mace to make it 9-4.
Trenton outshot Pioneer 39-26.
Luc Miklos made 22 saves for the Trojans.
Pioneer’s Elliot Davis made 30 saves for the visitors.