Rochester Hills Stoney Creek’s Ben Rupprecht makes a save Jan. 8 in a game against Grosse Pointe North on the road. At press time, the Cougars were 2-12 overall.

Rochester Hills Stoney Creek’s Ben Rupprecht makes a save Jan. 8 in a game against Grosse Pointe North on the road. At press time, the Cougars were 2-12 overall.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Stoney Creek hockey working to turn season around

By: Jacob Herbert | Rochester Post | Published January 15, 2020


ROCHESTER HILLS — Not many within the Rochester Hills Stoney Creek hockey program envisioned the start the team got off to this season.

At press time, the Cougars were 2-12 overall and in the midst of an eight-game losing streak.

There were a few pressing issues that oach Steve Emery said needed to be fixed to get the season turned around, with discipline being at the top of the list.

“The biggest issue we’ve faced so far is eliminating penalties. We took way too many through the first quarter of the season,” he said. “Our defensive zone structure has been a little bit shaky here and there. It’s kind of been letting us down in the last couple minutes of each period.”

Another issue the Cougars have been dealing with this season is the inability to play a complete game. Of Stoney Creek’s 12 losses this season, four have come by a two-goal or less differential.

Though the Cougars are not consistently coming out on the right side of the scoreboard, Emery still sees the team as trending in the right direction.

“Our effort has been there almost every single night,” the coach said. “The last five or six games, our effort has been great. We just have to make sure we get that consistently through three periods.”

Despite the way the season started, team morale has remained high. The Cougars are in the weight room and watching film on multiple days throughout the week intertwined with practice time.

Two players who have played prominent roles in keeping spirits up are team captains Jack Davidson and Nick VanGoethem. Emery said the duo’s experience in playing under previous senior classes has gone a long way in their ability to lead a team.

“If I put on a good face and try my hardest, all the younger kids will start looking up to me and start playing my role,” Davidson said on how he navigates the Cougars in these tough times.

Davidson, who usually is a defenseman, has since been moved up to forward to try and spark an offense that averages just over two goals per game.

“He’s got a really heavy shot,” Emery said of Davidson. “He’s like 6’3” and 190 pounds. We wanted to put a big body up there to see what he can do.”

Through 14 games, VanGoethem has six points on three goals and three assists.    The senior offered perspective into his leadership approach during the type of season the Cougars are having thus far.

“Just trying to stay positive is the best thing for us and not getting down on ourselves after a loss,” he said. “We have to come back from it and learn from it for the next game.”

Other players who have stood out this season include Luke Maselli, Andrew Garlick, Ben Rupprecht, Peyton Brown, Will Boyer and Bobby Dessy.

Boyer and Dessy are Stoney’s top two scorers this season with 14 and 15 points, respectively.

Stoney Creek still has all of its goals in front of it and believes all of them can be accomplished. Emery expects the team’s difficult schedule to start the year will pay dividends when it matters most.

Last year, the Cougars reached a Division 1 regional final but fell to Port Huron Northern 4-3 in double overtime. Through all the ups and downs the season has thrown at them, Stoney Creek expects to be right back in the mix for a regional title again this year.

“We’re going to be turning things around here pretty quick,” Emery said. “With the effort they’ve put in, they deserve to have things turn around.”