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Walled Lake girls hockey team closes year with D-2 state title

By: Mike Moore | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published March 21, 2016

 Girls on the Walled Lake Wild hockey team celebrate their D-2 state title following a 5-2 victory against Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day in the March 12 final.

Girls on the Walled Lake Wild hockey team celebrate their D-2 state title following a 5-2 victory against Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day in the March 12 final.

Photo provided by Frank Hunt

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WALLED LAKE — Twice before, Erik Carlson had taken his Walled Lake Wild girls hockey team to the Michigan Metro Girls Hockey League state finals.

And twice before, the Wild had exited the championship game as a runner-up.

When the 2016 Division 2 state playoffs began in early March, there wasn’t much thought to Walled Lake making another run for that elusive title, especially after finishing the regular season with a sub-500 record.

But that’s why the games are played.

“We got some great goaltending, and our experienced players stepped up when needed,” Carlson said of a pair of playoff wins, including a 5-2 victory over Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day in the D-2 final. “We got what we needed at the right time.”

After going 9-11-1 in the regular season, Walled Lake drew a bye in the first round and then defeated Ann Arbor Skyron 5-2 in the semifinals.

Against Country Day in the March 12 final, Walled Lake fell behind 1-0 40 seconds into the first period.

“Things progressed for us from there,” Carlson said. “In the second period, we started to take over a little bit.”

The game was tied 1-1 entering the third, and over a two-minute span of the final frame, Walled Lake scored four times. 

“This is pretty special,” said Carlson, whose team was in the final for the first time since 2013. The title was its first ever. “It’s probably a little relief to get the win. To finally get one was awesome. It’s something great for our program.”

Asked about the regular season, Carlson laughed.

“When you look at wins and losses, it was up and down for sure,” he said. “But this was a great group that was always looking forward. I think losing some games we should have won helped us in the end.”

The team is set to graduate just three seniors: Lara Elmblad, Kelly Smith and Sheridan Clifford.

Asked about next year and the possibility of making it two titles in as many years with so many girls set to return, Carlson said that will be the expectation.

“We expect everyone back and ready to roll.”

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