skip navigation

Mid-Michigan Melee

By Craig Peterson, 01/29/20, 8:00AM EST


Chargers and Chemics meet in Midland matchup for second time this season

I’ll admit, I may be slightly partial to Mid-Michigan hockey, being a product of the area myself. I know there’s a lot of really good programs in the middle of The Mitten but there’s just something about a particular matchup along M-10 that’s got me all fired up this week. I highlighted Chemics-Chargers Part 1 in my weekly picks column back in early December, and as much as I like to diversify my coverage on The Hub, I have to revisit the Midland vs. Dow rematch 58 days after the initial meeting. 

Why circle back? Two big reasons.

  1. Midland Dow’s Luke Blasy

  2. Midland’s Matthew Babinski 

I’m surprised NBCSN isn’t featuring this matchup on network TV as part of their Wednesday Night Rivalry series. I can see the promos now…

...Alright, so it’s NOT my best efforts as far as Photoshop goes, but I don't exactly have Getty Images here, either. Point is, When puck drops at 7:15 p.m. between these two rivals, it’ll feature two MI-HS stars pitted against each other in what is sure to be one of the best one-v-one matchups of the season.

When the two teams met on December 4th, Babinski was playing for the Oakland Jr. Grizzlies’ 18U AAA team. Now, he’s returned to the Chemics’ lineup and has stockpiled 19 points in just six games since joining the team around Christmas time. An electric forward, Babinski completely changes the dynamic of Midland’s roster and immediately becomes one of the top players to watch in the final month of the season. 

Babinski was an All-State forward as a sophomore, totaling 49 points in 25 games but opted for the AAA route during his junior year. Six weeks ago, he made the decision to return to the varsity squad, joining the program for the final days of his senior season. 

It’s important to highlight, feature and promote player stories who came up through the MI-HS hockey ranks; the born and raised high school hockey success stories like Derek Schaedig and John Lethemon, among SO many others. I also think it’s equally important to promote and encourage the stories of Babinski, Nick Justice and Tanner Liptow — again, among SO many others — who opted for the MI-HS route over AAA options because they felt it was an appropriate fit for their respective situations. 

I commend guys like Babinski. To be immersed in the AAA world, where I’m sure high school hockey is not thought highly of or talked about in a positive light. To make the decision to leave that all behind and return to high school, I’m sure was not an easy decision for the 18-year-old. If I had to guess, moves like that subject kids to criticism from former peers and is probably seen as a step backward by those unfamiliar with the MI-HS landscape. It just couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Babinski is now in a spot now where he can really put his abilities on full display and put together dazzling performances. Back-to-back games like a four-goal night against No. 15 Traverse City Central and a three-point outing against No. 49 Traverse City West are two bright spots, and he’ll have another opportunity to shine here against No. 25 Midland Dow.

It won’t come easy though, as I anticipate Babinski going head-to-head with the Chargers’ top forward Blasy.

The 5-foot-9 senior is signed with the Austin Bruins and is one-of-six MI-HS players currently tendered by an NAHL team. Blasy is a shifty skater with a high motor and he’s having a fantastic year, leading the 15-2-0 Chargers in scoring with 13 goals and 36 points. He plays with a bit of an edge too, and had two points when these teams last met, including the game-winning goal in overtime. Every time I watch Blasy, his game jumps off the ice sheet and he’s constantly impacting the game in one facet or another. A pest on the forecheck, jumping into passing lanes through the neutral zone, getting pucks out of the defensive end, all on top of producing offensively. He brings a tremendous 200-foot game to the table and is one of the most consistent performers I’ve seen this season. 


Luke Blasy

Matthew Babinski

Midland Dow


Senior Forward

Senior Forward



165 lbs

165 lbs

13 G, 36 P in 17 GP

10 G, 19 P in 6 GP


As much fun as I’m having, building up hype for the Blasy-Babinski Battle, it’s a team game at the end of the day and there are plenty of other weapons that will factor into this meeting.

Dow’s Billy VanSumeren is one of my top forwards in the 2022 Class, leading the Chargers in scoring with 17 goals. Lucas Churchfield follows closely behind with 16 of his own, and he’s a powerful guy who can muscle his way to the crease. Collin Lemanski is tied for the most wins in the state (13) and has a 1.48 goals-against average. 

Midland has flown under the radar through the first half, with a modest 5-11-0 record. If you snooze on the Chemics, though, guys like Matthew Witt and Tyler Pritchett will make you pay. They combined to produce HALF of the team’s offense before the addition of Babinski, and with three legitimate scoring threats, the Chemics have a much different look to them in January.

Can’t believe NBCSN is carrying the Capitals-Predators game over this gem we’ll have at Midland Civic Arena. It’s a primetime rivalry game worthy of having Doc Emrick on the call, and I can’t wait to see who comes out on top.

Who do you like in this matchup? Tweet me your picks along with any additional AAA-to-MIHS success stories out there this year.