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Big Games In The Bay

By Craig Peterson, 01/09/20, 11:15PM EST


North-South Showcase Features Plenty of Tight Matchups

Ya know, I was really starting to feel pretty good about picks this year. I had broken down 33 games and I hit on two-thirds of them. I’ve seen a lot of hockey and watched 61 of the 139 teams in action from all around the state, and there’s still more than 900 games left to be played this season.

I *thought* I had my finger on the pulse of high school hockey… and then FHNE beat FHC… And FHC beat GRCC… and GRCC tied Flint Powers… and Brighton beat Calumet… and Trenton beat Grosse Pointe South… and then Grosse Pointe South beat DCC… I could probably offer up a dozen or more of these instances from the last two weeks, the point is, I think it’s wide open this year. The distance between No. 5 and No. 25 isn’t as steep. The gap between No. 45 and No. 75 is pretty tight. There’s top programs and standout teams but I’m not so sure ANY of these matchups are a sure thing down the stretch. 

Some of the elites will have an off night, an underdog will hit you with a hot goaltender or sometimes, a sleeper will just flat out beat ya! Nonetheless, I’m expecting the final weeks of the season to be some of the best, most competitive hockey across the board that we’ve seen in a while. From Top 25 games to middle-of-the-pack matchups, my job with the picks is getting a Hell of a lot harder!


With that said, let’s highlight a some big matchups this weekend and give a couple projections.


Davison vs. Jenison

Friday, January 10th at 9:15 a.m.

BREAKDOWN: Two really likable teams going up against each other, first thing in the morning at the North-South Showcase. Jenison is a hard-working bunch and I can’t stress that enough. There’s not a lot of pretty in the Wildcats’ game but Noah Sheldon and Nick Rathsack lead the charge with grit and aggressiveness. You don’t need the flash-and-dash or dipsy-do’s when you just outwork the opponent below the face-off dots.

Speaking of work-hards… Dylan McMullen and Jeffrey Schmidt are fantastic forecheckers for Davison. McMullen is the definition of a two-way forward with a solid 200-foot game and Schmidt is always in the mix along the boards. They’re leading the charge for the Cardinals with 21 points apiece in just nine games.

These two teams are very similar to each other and it’s so close, flip a coin. I don’t expect either team to give up much 5-on-5, so special teams probably decides this one. My 51 percent goes to Jenison as there’s just a shade more depth on its side.


#52 Jenison


#48 Davison



Macomb Dakota vs. Bay Reps

Friday, January 10th at 6:15 p.m.

BREAKDOWN: The Reps are a bit underrated, checking in around the mid-40s of MyHockeyRankings, probably because they’ve lost their two biggest games of the year thus far against Grosse Pointe South and Heritage. That’s no indictment either, the Blue Devils and Hawks are top teams, and the Reps are a young squad with lots of potential so both games serve as learning experiences. Kaleb Miller’s eight goals leads the team, but there are six guys on the roster with four-or-more tallies this season, so there’s plenty of depth scoring to make the Reps a scary out.

The Cougars are a much more experienced squad with 15 juniors and seniors on the roster. While they’ve got stellar goaltending from both Jack Mastronardi and Trevor Zielinski, along with a slew of offensive production from older guys, its Kolin LeDuc that continues to draw my attention. The sophomore center plays in a lot of big spots for Dakota, stops and starts on pucks and is cool, calm, collected maintaining possession.

Judd Lawson could steal this one for the Reps, but ultimately I think the growing pains continue and Dakota has a little more juice.


#44 Bay Reps


#18 Macomb Dakota



Saginaw Heritage vs. Marquette

Friday, January 10th at 8:30 p.m.

BREAKDOWN: There might not be a hotter team in high school right now than the Hawks. They just won their seventh consecutive game and haven’t lost since opening weekend against Brighton. Traverse City might try and make coach J.J. Bamberger pay city taxes, because his squad has spent as much time in the Bay area as anybody over the last two weeks. They won the Scott Miller Memorial Tournament just after Christmas at Centre Ice Arena with three impressive victories, could they duplicate that success in a return trip to TC?

The 10-2-0 Redmen will have something to say about that. Marquette has dominated its schedule outscoring opponents 66-15 and the only two losses were one-goal decisions to Top-15 teams Houghton and Calumet. Liam Beerman is a freshman with six starts and hasn’t lost a game yet, splitting time with Brennan Hakkola who has a cool sub-2.00 goals-against average. Doesn’t matter who gets the start in net, the Redmen’s strong goaltending could give Heritage some trouble here in another close one.


#11 Marquette


#9 Saginaw Heritage



Brownstown Woodhaven vs. Traverse City Central

Saturday, January 11th at 12:15 p.m.

BREAKDOWN: Woodhaven is 0-3 against Top-20 teams this season, getting outscored 19-6 in those contests but I’ve just got a feeling about this one. TCC plays Stevenson in a primetime matchup Friday night, and then has to turn around 16 hours later to get up for another big test against the Warriors on Saturday. 

If both teams were well rested, I don’t think it’d be close because TCC has a ton of firepower from Charlie Douglass, Will Dawson and Nick Sommerfield, among others. However, tired legs can lead to mental breakdowns and that is a tough back-to-back for anyone to try and get up for. Jacob Kornoelje is a dangerous goal scorer and he can pounce on those mistakes with minimal space to operate. I’m gonna wing it with the Warriors in the biggest upset of the North-South Showcase.


#15 Traverse City Central


#31 Woodhaven


Let’s go! Tweet me and let’s talk about the upsets, close games and stunners happening in high school hockey.