Eisenhower hockey reaches state quarterfinal

By: Thomas Franz | Shelby - Utica News | Published March 14, 2016


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — With his team winless through three weeks of the season, Eisenhower hockey coach Bob Hall said it was simply a matter of belief that caused his team to have a turnaround season.

That meant the players increasingly believed in their coaches, who showed more and more belief in their players.

After an 0-7 start, Eisenhower rattled off 15 wins over its last 21 games of the year to finish 15-13. That record includes a regional title.

“We never stopped believing in our players, and as the players realized we were believing in them more and not giving up on them, they were believing in us more, and it just turned into a special season,” Hall said.

A key win that signaled that the season had turned the corner came on Jan. 22, when the Eagles defeated then-unbeaten Romeo High. Romeo went on to win the Division 2 state championship.

“We knew going in that anyone can win a rivalry game. Records and ability levels get tossed out. It comes down to who wants it more. Romeo is a great team, and they’re having a great season. We want to see them do well for the MAC,” Hall said.

Eisenhower wound up tied with Romeo at the top of the MAC Red regular-season standings with 10 points.

In the postseason, Eisenhower claimed a regional title by knocking off Troy High 7-4 and then Macomb Dakota 6-3 in a regional final.

The Eagles fell to Detroit U of D Jesuit 6-2 in a state quarterfinal March 9.

“Those were two really big wins for us to gain that regional title. It was climatic in terms of the pinnacle for our season. The boys earned that hardware and they worked hard for it, and we were looking to go one more step to go to that semifinal game,” Hall said. “Being in the top eight in the state isn’t a bad thing, but we were looking to be in that top four or top two, and those are our goals for the future.”

That future seems to be bright for the Eagles, who expect to return more than 10 contributors from this year’s roster.

“They know our routine and our expectations of the program, and they know what’s coming down the pipe. Hopefully, they prepare for it over the offseason and they’re ready for next season,” Hall said.

Eisenhower will graduate eight players, including captain Ethan Tobiczyk and assistant captains Brendan Rybicki and Stephen Ciennik.

“We were faced with a lot of adversity through the season, and the kids learned how to overcome that adversity,” Hall said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the players this year.”