PLYMOUTH — Two weeks ago, as the Grosse Pointe North hockey team prepared to embark on its playoff journey, the squad was below the .500 mark and had lost two of its final three regular season games.
Saturday, the Norsemen will play for a state title.
Adding yet another chapter to what has certainly been a magical script, North dominated its March 9 semifinal against East Kentwood, erasing an early 1-0 deficit and moving on to the final game of the 2012 postseason with a 6-3 win at Compuware Sports Arena in Plymouth.
“The kids have been playing real well the past two weeks” coach Scott Lock said with a smile. “It’s interesting to go from where we were to where we are now. But I’m pretty happy with where we’re at.”
North, which is now 15-14-0, faces a Brighton High (23-4-2) team that needed two overtimes to get past Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 2-1 in the other semifinal.
The Division 1 title game is scheduled for 6 p.m. March 10 at Compuware.
East Kentwood (19-10-0) struck first against North in the semi, cashing in on a power-play goal midway through the first period. But during four-on-four play, North’s John Paul Lucchese evened the game at 1-1. Then with one second remaining in the opening frame, Anthony Saleh notched a power-play goal of his own to give the Norsemen a 2-1 lead after one.
“That was huge,” Lock said of the second goal. “We went from being down one to being up one. I really think that shifted all the momentum.”
Jeff Herron pushed the advantage to 3-1 less than two minutes into the second period, and while East Kentwood got back into the mix of things on a Brett White goal at the 6:20 mark, North pushed the lead back to two when Joe Aluia knocked home a power-play tally.
Joe Giordano added the dagger, notching North’s fifth goal with just 2:17 remaining in the third.
East Kentwood’s Erik Stapleton scored on a breakaway with 58 seconds left, and North’s Julian Quinlan added an empty-net goal moments later.
North out shot east Kentwood 32-18 for the game.
Chip Wujek was strong in net, finishing with 15 saves for the Norsemen.
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