Regional playoffs concluded on Saturday evening, as we've crowned 24 new champions bound for the State Tournament slated to begin on Tuesday. Check out all of our champions as they enter the Elite Eight.
The Reps carried their late-season momentum into regionals, allowing just one goal against in each of their three playoff games. It has been nine games since the Reps have allowed more than one goal in a game and that stingy defensive effort has mounted 11 consecutive wins. That streak has led to the co-op program’s first regional title (I think? Feel free to call me out if I’m wrong).
The Bulldogs scored three unanswered goals to cap off the come-from-behind 5-3 win in the regional championship against Jenison. Byron Center relied on five different goal scorers in the finale and have now gotten strikes from 12 different players already in the postseason.
In its first year as a co-op, Cap City is heading to the Elite Eight after a thrilling 3-2 victory over Lowell/Caledonia. the Capitals have won two different one-goal games in the final moments of regulation, as senior defenseman Cam Van Tighem has led the charge with three goals and 10 points in the playoffs.
An offensive surge led the Hawks to a second consecutive regional title, scoring 23 goals in their three-game run. Matthew Cole and Brady Rappuhn lead the way for Heritage with eight points apiece and 15-of-18 skaters have picked up at least a point thus far in the playoffs.
Multi-point nights from Preston Hazelton and Bryce Kallen propelled the Eaglets past Brighton 2-1 in the regional semifinal, both credited with a goal and an assist en route to knocking off defending D-I state champ. OLSM rolled in the final to claim its first regional championship since the 2011-12 season.
The biggest shocker in D-I, Rochester United upset Utica Eisenhower in Round 1 and then shocked regional favorite Macomb Dakota in the championship with a late third-period goal. Domenico Munaco has been strong between the pipes, turning away 35-of-37 shots faced in those two games with Mantzios, Streng and Zyrek leading the offensive attack.
The Shamrocks outscored regional opponents 21-to-3, posting back-to-back shutouts in the semis and championship game. In fact, DCC hasn’t surrendered a goal against since the 13:38 mark of the third period in Round 1 and has gotten contributions from plenty of guys up front, with Zach Borchardt leading the way with seven points.
The Rocks return to the State Tournament in dramatic fashion, as senior Logan Sowa scored the game-winning goal in overtime to eliminate Northville and claim the program’s first regional title in four years. Salem will face its biggest test of the season next week in a rematch from when DCC eliminated the Rocks in the first round of last year’s playoffs.
The Redmen are rolling! It only took two wins to claim the regional title but they did it in impressive fashion, posting consecutive shutouts against Kingsford and Escanaba. Tanner Phillips kicked off the postseason with a hat trick and Marquette will look to him to continue that success in the State Playoffs.
They survived Traverse City Central the first night of the tournament with a come-from-behind third-period victory thanks to Kyle Hebner’s three-point night. Petoskey then rolled in the championship game, eliminating Mona Shores 7-3 to win the first title in the players’ lifetime (MHSAA records indicate no regional championships for the program since 2000).
Well, well, well… Make it four consecutive trips to the State Tournament for FHNE, as they pull off back-to-back OT thrillers to keep their season alive. Gabriel Gunneson scored in quadruple overtime to knock off Portage Northern 2-1 in the semis and Reed Almaissian scored the lone goal in double overtime to defeat Grand Rapids Christian in the championship game.
The defending D-II champs are a runaway train right now and poised to repeat, flexing on the region with a 25-to-1 goal differential in three tournament games. No stats on The Hub for the boys, but it’s a talented squad and I’m sure there’s a wealth of contributors to that offensive onslaught.
Not a fan of the stoic faces here, boys! I know you’ve got other aspirations but you just won a wooden mitten, it is okay to enjoy the moment. Reserving a spot in the State Tournament for a fifth consecutive season, the Warriors are a serious contender for a title in 2019. With wins of 8-2 and 6-1, Rice handled their region with ease but competition is sure to pick up next week, as D-II is yet again the most competitive of the three divisions.
Back in the State Tournament after a five-year absence, the Huskies claimed the regional title in stunning fashion, a 3-2 double-overtime victory against Stoney Creek. That sets the table for an MIHL grudge match in the quarterfinals, as PHN will look to get its first win of the season against Rice on Tuesday.
Make it five straight Regional Championships for the Spartans with consecutive wins over fellow KLAA schools Plymouth and Howell. FOUR different players have recorded multi-point games already in the postseason, and Stevenson will square off against Trenton (again) in what is sure to be a battle of postseason heavyweights.
The program’s first back-to-back regional championships since 2009 and 2010, Coach Chad Clements has the Trojans back in a big way. They survived a first-round hiccup with Ann Arbor Pioneer but Trenton has plenty of sharp shooters like Nolan Szczepaniak, Brandon Clark and Ethan Holt to score goals in bunches, especially against the top teams at the State Tournament. Also, someone’s gotta explain the bleached blonde hair to me. I know its tradition this time of year but there’s gotta be an origin story behind it and how it started, no?
It’s a damn shame one of these two powerhouses have to be eliminated from the playoffs so soon. The eighth ranked team in the state, Houghton, had just enough left to stave off a late comeback by the fifth-ranked team in the state, Calumet, as the Gremlins win the Regional Final 3-2. The win sets the table for a big quarterfinal against Alpena.
Can anyone crack Cooper Black? The Wildcats goaltender has allowed just seven goals against in his last 11 games and has given up three goals just once all year. With offensive contributions from Colby Plowman, Kyle VanDusen and Owen Limback, Alpena is gonna be one tough out in the State Tournament next week.
Big Rapids with the big upsets! First, the Cardinals eliminated regional contender Midland Dow in impressive fashion 6-2, and then handled regional favorite Flint Powers with an 8-goal onslaught. Coach Tim Blashill has quietly built a Northern Michigan powerhouse with their third straight regional title, as they get set to face East Grand Rapids in the quarters.
The Pioneers pulled off a 5-4 thriller to defeat Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the semis and then rolled in the regional finale to claim their first title since the ‘12-13 season. Credit senior Colin Stecco and his 13 multi-point games for EGR as they look to continue their playoff run.
Last year’s Mr. Hockey, Sam Evola, gets all the attention for the Yellowjackets but this is one of the most complete teams in the entire state, as they look poised to return to Plymouth. Credit coach Frank Novock with a fantastic job; a great goalie can take you a long way but having systems and structure in place leads to a big win over Cranbrook in the semis and back-to-back regional titles.
Taking care of business like none other this week, U-D posted back-to-back shutouts to get to the championship and then handled University Liggett 9-1 to punch the Cubs’ ticket to the State Tournament. It is their first regional championship since 2016 and U-D looks to carry that momentum into next week’s matchup with defending D-III champ Country Day.
After a big upset in Round 1, knocking off Allen Park 4-3, the Irish dominated their next two games — both by a score of 6-0 — against Chelsea and Cabrini. Quite possibly the biggest surprise of D-III, first-year coach Clint Robert’s squad looks to continue the role of spoiler at States next week.
Top dogs getting it done for the Pioneers, as Nathan Vazquez and Chance DeSana lead the boys to a second consecutive regional championship. Don’t look now, but they’ve won seven of their last eight and will be itching for a return trip to Plymouth.
Only eight teams remain in each of the three divisions with the Final Four and Championship games in sight. We are in the home stretch of the season and just three teams will get to end their '18-19 season with a victory. Best of luck to all remaining teams!
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