Orchard Lake, Utica
St. Mary's hockey team moves past Ike and into Division 1 semifinal, Grosse Pointe North and Liggett also move on
March 7, 2012
ST. CLAIR SHORES — Since losing in last season’s Division 1 final, the lone objective for the Orchard Lake St. Mary’s hockey team has centered on returning to Compuware and finishing a mission that ended one win shy of the mountain top.
Half that equation is now complete.
In a March 7 quarterfinal at the St. Clair Shores Civic Arena, the Eaglets cruised past Eisenhower 4-1, earning themselves a spot in a March 9 semifinal back in Plymouth.
“This is a big win for our guys, and it's big to be going back there, but they know it’s not the ultimate yet,” coach Brian Klanow said afterward. “This is a steppingstone. We have two more wins we need to get.”
The final score is somewhat misleading, considering neither team found the back of the net until just 5:14 remained in the opening period.
That’s when St. Mary’s senior Shane Bednard cashed in on a power-play opportunity.
But the lead was short lived.
Ike senior Jacob Schmidt connected on a power-play goal of his own less than three minutes later, and the teams hit the locker rooms deadlocked at 1-1.
St. Mary’s depth, physicality and overall talent took over in the second period, though.
Sophomore Mitchell Vanderburg gave the Eaglets the lead for good less than 90 seconds into the frame, and less than 1:30 later, senior Stephen Zorc made it 3-1.
Sophomore Cody Milan capped a period where St. Mary’s out shot Ike 17-6 with the third unanswered goal at the 12:26 mark.
Neither team scored in the final 15 minutes.
“When you look at the game, it took us some time to really get into it,” Klanow said when asked about the second period. “In the second, we started out skating them, and we were able to get the puck to the net.”
Klanow was more impressed with his defense, though. Ike entered the game with 11 goals in the playoffs, but were unable to get any sort of offensive rhythm going.
“I think as a group, we did a real good job,” Klanow added. “We tightened up a lot and didn’t give them much. I think our guys understand defense is going to win a title.”
“When they went up two early in the second, that really deflated our spirits,” Ike coach Bob Hall admitted. “But that is a fantastic team. My hat’s off to St. Mary's.”
Ike, which hadn’t given up a goal in its three playoff wins leading up to the quarterfinal, finishes the season 21-5-2.
“Our boys had a great year,” Hall added. “We won so many big games. It was a terrific season.”
The Eaglets, 17-10-0, head back to Compuware to face a Brighton High team that is 22-4-2 and beat Swartz Creek in its quarterfinal.
The semi is set for 6 p.m. March 9.
In other D-1 action, Grosse Pointe North (16-14-0) upset Livonia Churchill 3-0, and will face East Kentwood High at 8:30 p.m. March 9.
The D-1 final is at for 6 p.m. March 10.
In a D-3 quarterfinal from the Troy Sports Center, Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett beat Marysville High 4-0.
The Knights, now 25-3-0, face Cheslsea High (21-4-2) at noon March 9.
The D-3 final is at 2 p.m. March 10.
Follow Mike on Twitter @CandGMike.