It’s been 58 days since Flint Powers and Jackson Lumen Christi kicked off the season in Week 1, and 58 days from now, the puck will drop at the MI-HS State Finals in USA Hockey Arena. Being that we are literally at the halfway point of the season, I see it only fitting to crown our 2019-20 Dream Team through the first half and highlight six of the top players in high school hockey.
There’s been nearly 900 games played this season, with more than 2,500 athletes in action from across the state. To narrow a list down to just six is nearly impossible, but I’ve got a couple standouts worth mentioning among some of the absolute best in Michigan. Here is your unofficial Mid-Season Dream Team…
Senior Forward, Livonia Stevenson
His four-year career is winding down and Lause is playing some of his best hockey. The Spartans have built an 11-1-1 record and one of the hottest teams in the state. The captain has led the way for Stevenson, putting together six multi-point games and totaled 23 points this season. He’s powerful on the puck and moves with a wide base, able to maintain possession for extended periods of time and makes plays with his head up. He’s developed a true goal scorer’s touch around the net in addition to already being an extremely effective two-way center. Lause can be a terror on the forecheck, block shots, kill penalties, score goals and throw his weight around with anybody.
Senior Forward, Grand Rapids Catholic Central
He’s flat out been the best player on the ice in every game he’s played this season, and it’s not even close. Dominating the Grand Rapids area with 31 points, Onstott is another guy who's playing the best hockey of his four-year career. He’s accounted for70 percent of the Cougars’ offense in one aspect or another, producing at 5-on-5, on the power play and while killing penalties. At any moment, Onstott can bust a game wide open by leading the rush or creating opportunities within the offensive zone. His 16 goals are amazing, but what’s impressed me most is his knack for creating chances for teammates, putting them in places where they can produce as well.
Senior Forward, Brother Rice
He’s played four games against Top-5 teams this season and produced six points in those matchups. Murphy is a dynamic playmaker with 10 goals and 24 points through 10 games and leads the MIHL in scoring. Rice is off to an 8-1-1 record and the 5-foot-10 senior has been a major factor in basically all of those outings. He scored a hat trick in the Warriors’ first game against DCC; a 5-2 win that made Rice the first in-state school to defeat the Shamrocks in the regular season since February of 2017. Murphy, Ryan Marone and D.J. Dixon combine to make one of the most dangerous lines in all of MI-HS this season, and realistically, all three have a shot at a spot on Dream Team at the end of the year.
Senior Defenseman, Hartland
If you can’t skate, you can’t play. If you’re the best skater, you can dominate. Anything Kott lacks in size at 5-foot-5 he more than makes up for with his footspeed. He’s one of the best skaters in the state and can push the pace with anybody, giving him the ability to lock down any opposing forward while also making him indefensible on the offensive rush. Kott has six goals and 18 points this season, with six multi-point games through Hartland’s first 12 contests. He logs a crazy amount of minutes and is a workhorse for the Eagles.
Senior Defenseman, Grand Rapids Christian
I don’t know if there’s another player in the state that is relied upon more by his team than Bol. The 6-foot-4 lefty has been a do-it-all leader from the back end with nine goals and 22 points. He’s big, he’s fast, has some nice moves going north and is physical coming back on defense. Bol logs a ton of minutes for the Eagles and everyone on the ice looks to him to make something happen. Because of that, opponents are able to key in on him and limit his opportunities, which makes his production through the first half and 10-game active point streak even more impressive.
Senior Goalie, Calumet
Only Justin Verlander puts up more zeros on the scoreboard than this kid. Studebaker has been as close to perfect as any one goaltender can get, posting a shutout in five of his eight wins already this season. The 17-year-old maintains a 1.18 goals-against average and Calumet as a team is flirting with state record numbers because of his efforts, allowing just 17 goals in 13 games. He’s got victories over the No. 11, No. 12, No. 13 and No. 14 ranked teams in the state and the second half will only get tougher with matchups against Top 5 foes Brother Rice, Livonia Stevenson and Trenton.
Senior Forward, Midland Dow
Similar to Onstott on the west side, Blasy is routinely the best guy in the building every time he steps on the ice. He is “on” at all times, flying around with a level of consistency matched by, well, nobody. The Chargers are 12-2-0 and they’re undefeated when Blasy gets on the score sheet. Three of his 10 goals have been game-winners and he leads Dow with 29 points, producing in big spots with the game on the line.
Junior Forward, Calumet
Watching him will make your jaw drop. How can a junior be that fast, that swift, that explosive? He’s got points in every game this season for the Copper Kings and they’re looking like one of the best teams in the state because of him. Nine goals and 17 points through 13 games may not overwhelm people on the surface — and doesn’t lead the team in scoring — but watch this kid in action and try telling me he’s not the most impactful player on the ice.
Senior Defenseman, Detroit Catholic Central
He’s only played two games so far this season, so why is he in the mix? Well, he missed the first two months of CC’s schedule because he was a little busy playing in the U-S-H-L! Look, I get it, it’d be tough for a skater to make Dream Team having only played half the season but keep in mind, he earned the honor last year as a junior and has only gotten better since then. He’s easily the best defenseman in the state and if he finishes the year strong, I don’t think voters can hold his absence from the first half against him.
Senior Defenseman, Detroit Country Day
Thomas has the skill set and intangibles to be one of the best in the state. He’s 6-foot-4, built like a house, has a long stride and a great first-pass guy. I hate to be a stat sucker, but his four goals and 12 points in 13 games probably won’t be enough to draw state-wide recognition from the masses. Thomas’ game isn’t really about piling up points though, as D especially can influence the game in other ways. If enough people out there see his impact in other ways than the score sheet, he could squeeze his way in.
Junior Defenseman, Livonia Stevenson
The first-year junior has erupted onto the scene and is one of the best players in the 2021 class, regardless of position. Justice is the real deal and leads the No. 3 ranked Spartans in scoring with five goals and 25 points. He’s picked up a point in every game so far, while playing against the second toughest schedule in the state. To put up those numbers against that caliber of opponents from the blue line is downright remarkable.
Senior Goalie, Trenton
His .953 save percentage ranks third in the state while playing one of the toughest schedules out there. Three of his eight wins are against Top 10 teams and the second half of the season features even more ranked opponents like Brother Rice, DCC and Calumet, among others. The Trojans are 10-2-1 and if Cormier is as strong down the back stretch as he’s been out of the gate, he’ll turn enough heads for consideration as best in the state.