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Grosse Pointe Farms, Grosse Pointe Woods

March 7, 2012

All three Grosse Pointe hockey teams celebrate regional titles

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Liggett junior James Counsman (11) plays the puck despite being knocked down by a Country Day player during a March 1 regional semifinal. Liggett scored 31 goals in three games to claim a D-3 regional crown.
North’s Jack Stander moves the puck during the second period against U of D in a Division 1 regional final. The Norsemen faced Livonia Churchill in the quarterfinals after press time.

DETROIT — Scott Lock and his Grosse Pointe North hockey team were officially the first local squad to hoist a regional title trophy.

But the Norsemen certainly weren’t the last.

On a Saturday unlike any other in the Pointes, North, Grosse Pointe South and Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett all demonstrated their hockey greatness in Divisions, 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

“Pretty cool day,” South coach James Bufalino said after his team’s D-2 regional title. “To have all three schools represented is pretty neat.”

In a game played at City Sports Center in Detroit, North faced the University of Detroit Jesuit for the third time this season, only this time a D-1 regional final was on the line.

Junior Bradley Werenski opened the scoring 10 minutes into the first period on the power play to give North a 1-0 lead, and then senior Anthony Saleh made it 2-0 midway through the second.

The Cubs made it 2-1 18 seconds after Saleh’s goal, but senior goalie Chip Wujek was brilliant, turning away 12 of the 13 shots fired his direction.

Senior John Paul Lucchese iced the game with 27 seconds remaining in the third with an empty-net tally, sending the standing-room only crowd into a frenzy.

“We talk all year about getting ready for the playoffs, and this is 100 percent why,” Lock said afterwards. His team ended the regular season 12-14-0 before beating St. Clair Shores Unified 8-0 in the playoff opener and then earning a spot on the regional final with a 7-1 victory against Clinton Township Chippewa Valley in the semifinal. “To do this is huge for our program.”

North faced Livonia Churchill in a March 7 quarterfinal game, played after press time.

The winner moves on to the D-1 semifinal at 8:30 p.m. March 9 at Compuware Sports Arena.

As for South, which advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since winning a state title in 2007, Bufalino said the program is officially back on the map.

“This is just huge,” he said of the 3-1 victory against Trenton High in the regional final. South beat Livonia Franklin 8-0 in a semifinal after getting a bye in the first round.

“We’ve been building this program up for the past three years, and for this group of seniors to do something like this is awesome. They deserve everything they’ve gotten so far.”

South faced Hartland High in the quarterfinals, played after press time.

The D-2 semifinal, also at Compuware, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. March 8.

Liggett, meanwhile, ran its record to 24-3-0 with an 8-1 victory against Dearborn Divine Child in a March 3 regional final in the D-3 tournament.

Following a 9-2 win against Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day in the regional semifinal, coach Robb McIntyre said his guys were just having fun playing their game.

“When we skate the way we can and control the puck the way we do, we’re a tough team to beat,” he added.

The Knights faced Marysville High in the quarterfinals.

The D-3 semifinal is set for noon March 9 at Compuware.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mike Moore at mmoore@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1038. Twitter Follow Mike on Twitter.