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March 20, 2012

South girls hockey team proud to claim second straight championship

By Mike Moore
C & G Sports Writer

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South girls hockey team proud to claim second straight championship
For the second straight season, Grosse Pointe South ended the year on top. The girls beat North 4-1 in the league title game March 10.

This was the fork in the road. It was either a chance to unite and rebound or let a heartbreaking defeat kick start the unraveling of a season.

This was a Senior Night loss to an archrival, an anticlimactic end to a solid regular season.

This was, as coach Joe Provenzano later learned, the fuel for a fire that would lead to a second straight league championship.

Who would have thought?

“It was an overtime loss to (Grosse Pointe) North on Senior Night in a game we had a goal disallowed,” Provenzano said with a laugh last week. “It was a pretty rough night, but I think that fueled the fire in these girls. … Year to year, we always try to focus on being on the same page come playoff time. We want our best hockey to be played in those last three games.”

Inspired by the loss, the Lady Blue Devils never looked back. For the second consecutive season, they claimed the Michigan Metro Girls Hockey High School Hockey League championship, fittingly enough with a 4-1 win against North in the March 10 final.

“It’s so rewarding,” Provenzano said. “It’s hard enough to do this once, but to see them come together and find a way to do it a second time is pretty awesome.”

North, which had beaten South twice during the regular season, jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the game after one period on a power-play goal from Catherine McCarthy.

Clair Boyle got South on the board at the end of the second, evening the game at 1-1, but giving the Lady Devils some much-needed momentum heading into the third.

Roughly 30 seconds into the final period, Marissa Monforton notched what turned out to be the game-winner, while Melissa Klinger made it 3-1 with about five minutes remaining, and then Boyle scored her second of the game in the final moments.

Anastasia Diamond was a rock in net, stopping 15 of the 16 shots fired her way.

South ended the season 18-4-1, and most importantly, defended its 2011 title, captured in an overtime win against Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood.

“I think the biggest thing we had going for us was the leadership from our seniors and juniors, players that were here last year and saw what it took to win,” Provenzano said. “This wasn’t a perfect season by any means. I mean, we lost twice to North, lost some other games we probably shouldn’t have. I think it took some time to realize that when we played other teams, we were getting their best because of what we’ve done the past few years.”

“But the work ethic from these girls was awesome,” he added. “I think by mid-January, everything started coming together. The way we were playing and the things we were doing were much more consistent.”

And for the second straight year, so was the payoff.

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