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Country Day hockey team closes season on 14-3 run, falls in quarters

By: Mike Moore | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published March 14, 2016


FARMINGTON HILLS — In an honest assessment of the team he had this year, Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day boys hockey coach Frank Novock knew the talent level wasn’t like that of years past.

It may have been a fact,  but it wasn’t the dominating theme of his team or its 2015-16 season.

Even after starting the year 4-8-0.

“It’s a process,” Novock said of his team’s maturation. “It’s not easy, especially when you lack the talent like we do. We played a very methodical game, the right way to play. … I give so much credit to the seniors and to the leadership. It’s not always fun to be around here (working at it). But to stay with it, that’s the life lesson. If you do enough of the right thing, it’s going to work out. That’s what I told the guys.”

Novock spoke candidly about his guys and the season, which had just ended moments prior in a 2-1 loss March 9 to Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood in a Division 3 quarterfinal game at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena.

The Yellowjackets had gone 14-2 since starting with the upside down record, playing themselves into the quarters against the defending D-3 champs.

And they didn’t back down.

Each team scored power-play goals, Country Day getting its with 15:20 to play in the second period to tie things at 1-1.

That score held true until just 29.2 seconds remained, when Cranbrook’s Dawson Zahorian ripped a shot from the blue line that found its way to the back of the net.

“We got it down to 30 seconds, and it goes back to us not pressuring the puck one time,” Novock said of what was a power-play goal. “You make one little mistake against a team that good, you’re going to pay.”

The Yellowjackets closed the year with an 18-11-0 record.

Novock called the loss, and especially the manner in which it came, a “tough pill to swallow.”

But there was plenty of appreciation for the journey and what his team had accomplished.

“Obviously, it’s disappointing to come as far as we did (and lose),” he said. “But to be 14-3 in the second half of the season and play the way we did … we felt it was our time. If we got a bounce here or there, maybe it would have been.”

Rice ousted in quarters
The 2016 playoffs came to an end three wins shy of a title defense for the Birmingham Brother Rice hockey team.

The Warriors fell to Hartland High 5-4 in overtime in a March 8 Division 2 quarterfinal game, ending the season with a 21-7-1 record.