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 Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day’s Nick Wachol carries the puck up the ice Feb. 7 against Grandville High at Kennedy Ice Center in Trenton. The Yellowjackets beat the Bulldogs 7-4 and were 18-3 overall at press time.

Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day’s Nick Wachol carries the puck up the ice Feb. 7 against Grandville High at Kennedy Ice Center in Trenton. The Yellowjackets beat the Bulldogs 7-4 and were 18-3 overall at press time.

Photo by Deb Jacques

Country Day hockey ready for another playoff run

By: Jacob Herbert | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 11, 2020


BEVERLY HILLS — Before the season started, Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day hockey coach Frank Novock expected his team to be right around .500 at the holiday break.

The Yellowjackets had graduated a plethora of players from a team that won back-to-back Division 3 state championships in 2018 and 2019.

At press time, the Yellowjackets were 18-3 overall and first in the Michigan Metro Hockey League East Division.

Novock credited this year’s seniors and their ability to seamlessly transition into their new leadership roles.

“I never would have thought we’d be where we are at this point,” Novock said before a recent practice at the Southfield Civic Arena. “We’ve mixed some good wins in there, and the guys just continue to battle every day.”

Leading the team is captain Dallas Hood along with assistant captains Gino Sessa and Jacob Thomas.

Novock said he’s not sure that he’ll ever have a better senior class than he does right now, and that if it were respectful enough to the game, he would give every player on the team a letter because he is that confident in everyone’s ability to lead.

“That’s a testament to those guys who don’t wear letters,” the coach said. “I still hear them in the locker room, I see them helping young guys out, and I see what they’re doing on the ice. Whether it’s at school or here at the rink, they’re helping out.”

On the ice, depth has been a strength all season long. The Yellowjackets currently have six players over double-digit point totals for the season.

Being able to comfortably play multiple lines in a game and still get positive results has made life a lot easier for the coach.

“We don’t have a superstar, but we have very complete players, guys that do a lot of the little things. That’s how you win,” Novock said. “Yeah, you can have one line, but we do it by committee, and it’s hard to match one line with all of our guys.”

There are four games remaining in the regular season for Country Day, and regional play sits just over two weeks away.

Addressing the little details over the coming days will play a big role in the team making another deep run in the postseason. The Yellowjackets are no strangers to playing well into March in recent years.

Aside from the state championships, Country Day has also won four straight regional titles.

“Take it one game at a time is No. 1 — we can’t get ahead of ourselves,” Novock said on what it takes to make a run. “We’ve got to enjoy the moment, enjoy every game. Whether it’s an advantage or disadvantage of high school sports, it’s one game, and if you’re not prepared (for) that one game, the season is over.”

Novock said he doesn’t feel any pressure to win three state titles in a row. He and the team look at it as more of a challenge to themselves, as not many teams have ever won three trophies in a row, and he wants his team to be one of the groups to do it.

If Country Day is to make it back to USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, the road to get there won’t be easy. A quick look at the bracket shows Grosse Pointe South and Detroit U-D Jesuit standing in the way of another state semifinal appearance.

Novock is confident that the Yellowjackets can get there and is prepared for the gauntlet that awaits.

“There’s no doubt about it that we could win it all again, but you would have to beat the top three teams in the state just to get to the state championship game. There’s definitely other teams that are hungry to knock us off and cement themselves in history,” the coach said. “If we don’t win this year, we consider it a failure, but it’s going to be so difficult to do with all the great teams we could play.”