The boys first road contest of the season, the Oxford-Avondale United hockey program battled Utica-Ford United on Dec. 13 at Fraser Hockeyland. A penalty-riddled affair, Utica United ultimately prevailed 8-4 in what was OAU’s first game action in six days.
Taking advantage of a deflection and a loose puck in front of the net, Utica United took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission. After extending the margin to 3-0, OAU found some life when sophomore Ben Hepp and junior Jake Bills lit the lamp less than a minute apart to cut the deficit to one-goal, 3-2.
Billis, however, would leave the action later in the period with a dislocated shoulder after taking an elbow to the head from Utica United junior defenseman Ethan Gehrke. The son of OAU head coach Derek Billis and one of the team’s leading scorers, Jake is expected to be sidelined for about a month.
Drawing the start in goal, junior netminder Brett Dinges finished with 32 saves on 40 shots. Junior center Nate Poplars (Avondale) added two points in the effort.
Blessed with the opportunity to wipe the slate clean the following night, OAU returned home to the Detroit Skating Club to host the Bloomfield Hills Black Hawks on Dec. 14.
In what may have been the group’s most impressive performance of the season, a shorthanded OAU team upset the Oakland Activities Association White-leading Black Hawks, 1-0. Junior goaltender Austin Spivey was as good as a wall in net, stopping all 55 shots he faced.
Senior winger Matt Schultz recorded the game’s only tally with 4:15 left to play. A great individual play, Schultz knocked a Bloomfield Hills pass out of mid-air while aggressively forechecking and took it in to give OAU the break they needed.
This was the first loss for the Black Hawks who are still tied atop the division standings with the West Bloomfield Lakers at four points. OAU is tied with Troy United for third-place with two points.