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February 6, 2013

Prep hockey team set to face 18-1 Shrine squad with plenty on the line

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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Prep hockey team set to face 18-1 Shrine squad with plenty on the line
Prep’s Troy Bishop (55) and Bohdan Fedorak are pictured during a recent game. The Fighting Irish face Royal Oak Shrine in a key league contest Feb. 8 on the road.

PONTIAC — He called it a “big game.”

And while there could be a more flamboyant way to describe his Pontiac Notre Dame Prep hockey team’s Feb. 8 game against Royal Oak Shrine, Bob Rosbury’s assessment was accurate.

The Fighting Irish were just 6-11 overall at press time, but at 3-0 they were still in position to earn a CSHL Division 2 title with league championship weekend (Feb. 16-17) fast approaching.

Finding a way to beat, or even hang with, an 18-1 overall Shrine team could do wonders for the Irish, moving forward.

“There’s a lot on the line right now, a lot to play for in this game,” Rosbury said last week of the game, set for 7 p.m. at Lindell Ice Arena in Royal Oak. “We’ve struggled a bit this season, in terms of wins and losses, but to have a chance to play in the league finals would mean a lot to these kids.”

Rosbury is in his first season with Prep, but he knows the program has struggled since reaching the Division 3 semifinals in 2009.

He hoped to take another step in the right direction this winter, and aside from a few lopsided losses, his guys have been in most games.

Playing a Shrine team that’s lost once, though, will be no easy task.

“We have to be solid defensively,” Rosbury said simply. “They have some kids that can score, and that’s where our emphasis will sit. Our goaltending also has to be strong, which it has been most of the season, but the defense has to be good against a team like Shrine.”

Playing for a Catholic League title would be especially nice for Prep because its draw in the state tournament is daunting, to say the least.

Prep opens the D-3 state playoffs against Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood (16-1-1) — the state’s top-ranked team — in a matchup that Rosbury laughed a bit at and called, “a tough draw.”

But before anyone takes the ice in the state tournament, there are league titles to be decided, and Rosbuy said he’s certainly looking forward to facing a long-time rival in Shrine with so much on the line.

“Anytime you have a chance to go against that school (Shrine) is a something special,” he said. “Their hockey program is really coming along, and a chance to go at it with them is what playing in the Catholic League is all about.”

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