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March 9, 2012

Liggett hockey rolls again, beats Chelsea to advance to Division 3 state final

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Liggett's David Gushee (8) leads the charge as the Knights clear the puck from the defensive zone. The dream season for Liggett will see one more game, a Division 3 final March 10 at Compuware.

PLYMOUTH — Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett hockey coach Robb McIntyre said he saw something from his team that he’d never seen before.

Nerves.

Maybe that’s why the Knights found themselves in a 1-0 hole less than five minutes into a March 9 Division 3 semifinal against Chelsea High.

Thankfully for McIntyre and the hundreds of Liggett faithful who flocked to Plymouth’s Compuware Arena, the nerves quickly dissipated.

As did Chelsea's chances.

“We had to find our edge in this one. I think the nerves got the best of us early on,” McIntyre said moments after his team cruised to a 5-1 victory, clinching a spot in the March 10 state championship game. “We came together once we settled in. And once we did that, I thought we played real well.”

The Bulldogs drew first blood, scoring just 4:32 into the first period. But less than four minutes later, Chelsea took its first of what would be 11 penalties on the afternoon, and Liggett sophomore Vincent Scarfone made it count with a power-play tally.

The momentum shift, however, came with just 27 seconds remaining in the first period when sophomore Jacob Jerome charged the net, pounced on a loose puck and gave the Knights a 2-1 lead.

Using the same speed that’s gotten them to this point in the season, Liggett possessed the puck with perfection, and subsequently controlled the next two periods.

Junior James Counsman made it 3-1 with a power-play goal 4:32 into the second, and sophomore Lordanthony Grissom added the dagger with another power-play goal with seven seconds remaining in the second period.

Sophomore William Yates capped the scoring with less than five minutes remaining in the game, sending Liggett (26-3-0) to its first title game since winning it all in 1990.

“We’re a very skilled and creative team. I don’t practice the power play very much, if at al.  I just let these guys play,” McIntyre said when asked about the three power-play goals.

Chelsea coach Don Wright felt that was the obvious difference in the game.

“When it was five on five, we played well,” said Wright, whose guys were whistled for a total of 46 penalty minutes in the loss. “Give Liggett credit, they took advantage of it. That’s a great hockey team.”

The Knights face Houghton High (24-4-0) in the final at 2 p.m.

Chelsea finishes its season 21-5-2.

Follow Mike Moore on Twitter @CandGMike.

 

 

 

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