L’Anse Creuse Unified sophomore goalie Perez Silva makes a stop during a matchup against Utica Ford Unified on Jan. 5 at Big Boy Arena in Fraser.

L’Anse Creuse Unified sophomore goalie Perez Silva makes a stop during a matchup against Utica Ford Unified on Jan. 5 at Big Boy Arena in Fraser.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Growth of junior class keeps LC Unified in title hunt

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | C&G Newspapers | Published January 5, 2024

 L’Anse Creuse Unified junior Justin Brooks carries the puck.

L’Anse Creuse Unified junior Justin Brooks carries the puck.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


MACOMB COUNTY — L’Anse Creuse Unified may be a young squad with heavy aspirations, but they’re figuring things out in the race for the Macomb Area Conference Red league title.

The team is a co-op of Macomb L’Anse Creuse North, Harrison Township L’Anse Creuse and Richmond, who joined LC Unified this season. Last season’s campaign told the story of an inexperienced team comprised of 11 sophomores hoping to make their mark following a 2021 team that made a run to the Division 1 state quarterfinals.

The only difference is the 2021 team had 11 seniors to its name, which resulted in a 20-8 season and a regional title in the process before falling to Detroit Catholic Central in the quarterfinals.

LC Unified ended last season 12-13 with an underwhelming showing in an 8-0 loss to Macomb Dakota in the regional semifinals, which shut the door on a LC Unified team that never seemed to find their footing.

Now 8-4 and fighting for the top spot in the league, trailing first place Romeo by only five points, LC Unified’s 11 juniors have molded into the players LC Unified coach Jon Nader hoped they’d become this season.

“It’s tremendous growth,” Nader said. “With confidence, they’re all different kids. Going from sophomores to juniors, it’s a big year. They’re all I wouldn’t say surprising us, but we’ve been looking forward to seeing this. We’re looking forward to that growth continuing this season and carrying into their senior year as well.”

Junior forward Drew Halaas, the lone Richmond player, leads the junior pack with 14 points (7 goals and 7 assists) while junior forwards Aiden Suchocki (12), Justin Brooks (11), Brayden Ramsden (10) and Vince Pica (10) round out the double-digit point players.

The lone outlier is a player who is on pace to be one of the most exciting players in the Macomb Area Conference — sophomore forward Logan Jarvey.

Jarvey finished second on the team in points last season with 21 and currently has a team-high 15 points, 11 of which are from assists (team high).

Though a sophomore, Jarvey is already taking on a leadership role with his impressive play and work ethic.

“He comes in and he’s got a job to do and he knows his job,” Nader said. “He wants to be the best one on the ice. He’s a quiet kid, but he leads by example. He’s one of the hardest working kids day in and day out.”

LC Unified’s remaining juniors anchor a backline that has allowed only three goals per game this season with Jonah Kramer, Aiden Willson, Aiden Carrithers and Mario Boskovich, a three-year varsity player.

Senior and four-year varsity goalie Nathanael Maurin has manned the net to the tune of a 4-1 record with junior goalie Zach Hill, who is 3-0 on the season, and sophomore Perez Silva also getting time in net.

Maurin said the chemistry of the junior backline has led to the defensive success this season.

“On the defensive side, especially compared to last year, we’re very strong defensively,” Maurin said. “Because we have the same defensive core as last year, they’re all in-tune with each other and have good communication all throughout.”

Maurin was an impact player for LC Unified during their 2021 season, finishing 7-1 with a 2.63 goals against average in 10 games.

Maurin was one of three players currently on the team to be a part of the 2021 quarterfinals team (Boskovich and Hill), and Nader said it was an adjustment for Maurin last season during the losing skids.

“Last year was really a tough year for him (Maurin), and we had a lot of sit downs and just talked to him about it,” Nader said. “Being in such a competitive team two years ago and then we lost all those kids, it was a different role for him. I said, ‘Hey, this is your team now.’ We only had three other seniors. This year, he definitely has a great attitude towards them and is trying to develop them saying, ‘Hey, this is what we did back then and this is where we want to be at.’”

Maurin and company have had their spirits up this season as LC Unified continues to put together a successful year.

There’s still some areas of improvement with the consistency of the offensive production, but Maurin said he expects the team to be firing on all cylinders towards the end of the year.

“I’d say definitely tuning in on the offense,” Maurin said. “There’s a couple times where it’s hard to break out, and we got to get better shots in the offensive zone and use our offensive zone time wisely. Once the offense kind of tunes it into where the defense is, I think we’re going to have a strong end to the year.”