Grosse Pointe South’s Alexander Mills battles for the puck against Northville High Dec. 14. South won 5-1.

Grosse Pointe South’s Alexander Mills battles for the puck against Northville High Dec. 14. South won 5-1.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

GPS hockey off to strong start under new coach

By: Zachary Manning | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 17, 2019


GROSSE POINTE FARMS –– It may only be Paul Moretz’s first year leading the Grosse Pointe South boys hockey program, but the Blue Devils have already taken steps in the right direction.

Since taking over in June, he has hit the ground running. It started with offseason workouts, which progressed to high-intensity practices and now competing with top teams across the state.

The Blue Devils won seven games last season, a mark the squad has already surpassed in just nine games thus far. At press time, South was 8-1 overall, with the lone loss coming in overtime to perennial power Trenton High.

“We feel pretty good about ourselves. We think it’s a pretty good start,” senior Tommy Daudlin said. “We like the way we’re moving on the ice. We’re playing as a team; we’re playing as one unit. That’s something that we haven’t been doing as much in the previous years, but I think this year we’ve really stepped it up.”

To find the recipe for South’s success thus far, look no further than its ability to put the puck in the back of the net. The Blue Devils have outscored their opponents 53-17.

South currently has six players with double-digit points on the season, with Keegan Spitz leading the way at 26 (14 goals, 12 assists). Adam Strehlke 18, (7,11); Aaron Vyletel, 16 (9, 7); Dean Therriault, 13 (6, 7); Alex Miciuda, 13 (5, 8); and Jacob Spitz, 12 (1, 11) are the other five to hit that mark.

“I think we have a lot of skill offensively this year,” Strehlke said. “We’ve put up a lot of goals on teams, let up more than we want to, but our offense is definitely playing well right now.”  

Even with a strong start to the season, South isn’t resting on its laurels. The Blue Devils are still continuing to build under their new coach.

As the season progresses, South will get a good understanding of just how much progress it has made. Playing in the Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League South Division will allow the Blue Devils to see strong competition on a regular basis.

From their division, Trenton has finished as the Division 2 state runner-up the last two seasons, while Warren De La Salle is just a few years removed from a Division 3 title.

From the North Division, Novi Detroit Catholic Central won a D-1 title last year, which was the program’s fifth of the decade. Birmingham Brother Rice and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood also have multiple titles in the decade.

“We love it because of the competition. We love it because we know it’s making us better,” Moretz said. “But at the same time, if you’re not winning, it can knock you down and it can be a struggle, confidence-wise.”

The Blue Devils will hit the ice again at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at McCann Ice Arena.