Farmington, Farmington Hills
Farmington and Unified hockey teams close season in regional semis
March 5, 2013
Replacing 24 seniors in the past two years would almost serve as a near-impossible task for any high school hockey team still trying to maintain some level of respectability.
“I’ll say this, I’m very, very proud of what these guys were able to do,” Farmington High coach Mark Vellucci said last week. “To lose 10 seniors from last year and 14 the year before that, and still play the way we did was pretty awesome. This was a great group of guys.”
Vellucci spoke a day after his team was ousted from the regional semifinal round of the Division 3 state playoffs in a 2-0 loss to Beverly Hills Country Day.
“We gave up two goals at end of first period, and that was tough,” Vellucci explained of the Feb. 28 game. “Their goalie played really well when we had the chances we did. We just couldn’t buy one.”
The loss ended the Falcons’ winter with a 15-10-1 record.
“There weren’t many people out there that thought we could finish above .500,” Vellucci said simply. “But we had some great leadership from our captains and four seniors. The guys worked so hard on and off the ice, and in the end, they put together a pretty good season.”
The Falcons started the year a bit slowly, and then got things going, only to slump again. But they ended the regular season on a 9-1-0 run heading into the D-3 tourney.
“You couldn’t help but enjoy it,” Vellucci said of the final 10 games. “They were taking what we taught, applying it, and were such a joy to watch. Everything you want as a coach, they gave us.”
Flyers fall in tough draw
After beating Birmingham Unified in the pre-regional, Farmington Hills Unified coach Ken Anderson watched Birmingham Brother Rice dispose of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in a back-and-forth battle of heavyweights.
“We have to find a way to slow them down,” Anderson said of Rice, his team’s regional semifinal opponent.
For a while, the Flyers did just that.
Then Rice scored a shorthanded goal with 24 seconds remaining in the opening period and never looked back.
“That shorthanded goal at the end of the period was a backbreaker,” Anderson said following the 7-0 loss Feb. 27. “We needed a perfect performance to beat that team, and we didn’t get it.”
The loss ended Unified’s season with a 15-12-0 record.
“This was a pretty good year,” Anderson said. “We weren’t too sure what to expect coming in, but we got better as the year went along. We finished in third in a good league and won a playoff game. With 10 guys coming back, that’s all something to build on.”