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Must-Watch Matchups

By Craig Peterson, 12/04/19, 10:00AM EST


Two Big-Time Rivalries And A Pair Of Top Ten Teams Highlight Week Three

Had a huge bounce-back week as we all feasted on some fantastic Thanksgiving food and I cleaned up on the picks, going 3-0 thanks to decisive wins by GRCC and Calumet along with the shocking upset by Brother Rice. Now it’s starting to feel like hockey season as we’ve got upsets, surprise teams and big-time performances and we’re just two weeks in! Looking forward to the next couple days, we’ve got two major, bitter, grueling rivalries on tap to go along with a battle between two titans of high school hockey.


Alright, I’m excited! Riding high after three straight wins and looking to keep that momentum rolling. Let’s get to the picks…


Midland Dow vs. Midland

Wednesday, December 4th at 7:15 p.m.

BREAKDOWN: Now, back when I played high school hockey in mid-Michigan *cough* 12 years ago *cough* we played a game up at the Midland Civic Arena. Rumor had it back then that the hatred between these two schools ran so deep, that while they both called the arena their home ice, they would use opposite benches for their games! I don’t remember the particulars, but it was something to the affect of Dow would use the “home” bench for their games and Midland would use the “away” bench for theirs, even though they were the home team. I’m quite confident that even though we came in as visitors for our game, we were given the home side bench because Midland refused to use the same bench as Dow... I desperately need someone to verify this for me because if true, that is AWESOME!

While I believe the disdain for one other to be there as far as rivalries go, the head-to-head record has resembled that of Michigan and Ohio State recently in football. Dow has won seven in a row in this series according to the Hub’s records, and the Chargers have had some pretty significant players come through in that time. Shane Astrike, Joey Johnson and Jeremy Slasor had been pivotal figures in this series in year’s past and I expect Luke Blasy to be a key player on Wednesday night. 

However, the winds are a changing across US-10 and the Chemics have spent the last few seasons scheming and building and could be on the verge of swinging the pendulum back in their favor.

Matthew Witt was sensational last season as a freshman and Midland returned 13-of-17 players off of last year’s squad. I give Midland the edge in net with Luke Buza who compiled a .910 save percentage as a sophomore and returns even better in Year Three. With motivated seniors Tyler Pritchett, Nathan Witt, Isaac Daniel and Gavin Moe leading the charge amongst this young, but experienced group, I’ve got the Chemics taking the power back on Wednesday night, regardless of what bench they’re sitting on!




Midland Dow




Rochester United vs. Lake Orion

Thursday, December 5th at 7:45 p.m.

BREAKDOWN: Another pair of teams that call the same rink home… but who will rule roost come Thursday night? I don’t know if the hatred runs as deep as the previous rivalry we discussed but you’ve got two OAA powerhouses that are regularly battling for supremacy in the conference.

On paper, I feel like this matchup should go Lake Orion’s way more often than not, as they’ve had some highly talented players come through the program in recent years. However, RU always seems to find a way to keep things close, keeping those top players from breaking out and the last four games only favor the Dragons with a 2-1-1 edge. Even this season, I think the talent scales tip in LO’s favor with guys like Andrew Potyk and Kade Manzo, not to mention their leading scorer and first-year junior Brendan Finn

Goaltending will be the question mark for both teams and I fear this could be a high-scoring affair. RU has some playmakers of their own with eight different goal scorers in their first four games and Jack Myers leading the charge. However, I think this could be a race to five goals and I just don’t see them having enough steam to match the Dragons’ offense.


Lake Orion


Rochester United




Livonia Stevenson vs. Detroit Country Day

Friday, December 6th at 6:00 p.m.

BREAKDOWN: In a primetime matchup between two top ten teams, I see this as strength vs. strength and I can’t wait to see which side gets the better of the other. 

Stevenson is loaded up front with deep forward lines overflowing with talented scorers. Seth Lause, Brenden Heard, Jaron Anderson, Ethan Waldo, Ian Kimble… and I’m only getting started! Those were just the ones I could name off the top of my head. The Spartans bring four forward lines to the table and a relentless forecheck that will inevitably wear you down. I don’t think there’s any line matching with this bunch because any given trio can burn you and put the puck in the net.

Luckily for Country Day, the Yellowjackets have stellar D on the back end which should help quell the ensuing pressure from Stevenson. Jacob Thomas, Gino Sessa, Christopher Rea, Max Shilling, Noah Thewes and Michael Rosczewski have been patrolling the blue line together for three years. The same six guys! For a third straight year! Oh, and in their first two years as a group, they just won back-to-back state titles… not a big deal. 

So you’ve got an unstoppable force in Stevenson’s offense and an immovable object in Country Day’s D corps. One’s got to give way, what’s it going to be? Well, I think it’s going to be fun to find out! I’ll stop by Eddie Edgar Ice Arena Friday night to see but I think special teams will ultimately end up breaking the stalemate in this one. The Yellowjackets’ defense is elite but I like the Spartan offense to cash in on a power play or two, proving to be the difference in a low-scoring affair. 


Detroit Country Day


Livonia Stevenson