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State Bound: D-II

By Craig Peterson, 03/04/20, 8:02AM EST



Region 9

Marquette outscored Escanaba by a combined score of 13-2 in the previous two meetings this season. I like Ethan Silverstone and Kyle Krutina to play inspired hockey with the Eskymos’ future hanging in the balance, keeping the game much closer than the series track record would suggest. However, I’ve felt this is the Redmen’s year since seeing them in early November and the way Gaetano Cammarata and Jakob Peterson are playing, I have no reason to shy away from that prediction four months later. Look for this to be a 2-1 or 3-1 game where Escanaba has chances early into the third period, but Marquette cashes in some late insurance to clinch the Regional and begin plans for a trip south.






Region 10

If I could only watch one Regional Final on Wednesday, I think it’d be this one. Mona Shores is better than its No. 53 ranking and should give No. 17 TC Central a great game at Howe Arena. The Trojans have good depth and guys like Chris Usiondek, Nick Sommerfield and Hunter Folgmann will play pivotal roles if TCC continues on a potential path to Plymouth. Mona has a couple showstoppers though, and Connor Winegar, Trent Benedict and Ty Langlois are dangerous enough to play spoiler. The Sailors get out first in this one and lead early, but the hometown team settles in and responds as the game goes on.

TC Central


Mona Shores



Region 11

Forest Hills Northern-Eastern enters Wednesday having won four consecutive Regional Championships. Rockford, on the other hand, hasn’t claimed one since 2017 but coach C.J. Pobur has assembled a squad in 2020 that could snap the three-year drought. The Rams are a young bunch but they’re deep too, and much better than their 10-14-1 regular-season record would suggest. Will Haggerty and Kyle Switzer lead the offensive charge for Rockford, but FHNE counters with solid weapons of its own with Tyler Nickelson and Ryan Almassian. I think the Bird Dogs throw a smothering forecheck that will frustrate Rockford for long stretches, but won’t actually generate many offensive looks. As long as the Rams don’t panic in the face of pressure and avoid costly turnovers, I like their odds of outchancing FHNE.

Forest Hills Northern-Eastern





Region 12

Hartland has outscored opponents at the Regional level 87-3 in the span of 10 games over the last four postseasons. I fully expect this trend of dominance to continue until someone finally decides to change the playoff system that’s remained basically unchanged since 2000. Davison’s one glimmer of hope comes in the form of Dominic Wendel. He’s had some huge games this season but he’ll have to have the biggest performance of his life to give the Cards a shot. Ultimately, The Eagles at home are just too much to keep up with; Adam Pietila and Kieran Carlile keep the state’s longest active Regional Championship run alive for another year. 






Region 13

If there’s one team that’s just handling its business in the playoffs right now, it’s Brother Rice. So far, they’re outscoring Regional opponents 22-1 and capitalizing on their path to Plymouth. Lake Orion stands in the way on Wednesday, and Brendan Finn, Kade Manzo and Nick Haag could put up a decent fight in the finale. The Warriors’ top end is just too good for the Dragons to contain, as I don’t think Ryan Murphy, D.J. Dixon and Nick Marone can be denied at this stage of the postseason. Rice gets out to a quick lead and then stays in front comfortably.

Lake Orion


Brother Rice



Region 14

Logan O’Flanagan and Chad Noetzel have combined to score nine of Port Huron Northern’s 14 goals in the 2020 playoffs. The scary situation for opponents like Chippewa Valley, is that the Huskies are just warming up. PHN’s last six wins are by an average margin of 5.8 goals; when they win, they win BIG. I think Wednesday could be another one of those victories. There’s a chance Kyle Hauer and Shyam Patel could put a charge into the Big Reds, but Northern is battle tested and weathered a tough schedule to get to this point. Huskies win comfortably. 

Port Huron Northern


Chippewa Valley



Region 15

I don’t know if Novi has enough to beat Livonia Stevenson outright, but they do have just enough to slow down the Spartans and frustrate an aggressive offense. Coach Mark Vellucci does a tremendous job formulating game plans to keep his ‘Cats competitive against teams with superior talent. I could see Novi slowing this game down a bunch, packing it in and keeping Stevenson’s dangerous threats to the perimeter and out of scoring areas. Offense will come for the Spartans, but they’ll have to work for it and I won’t rule out Novi sneaking in a couple chances of their own.



Livonia Stevenson



Region 16

I’ve had Trenton on upset alert through the first two rounds, and while the games were snug, they ultimately took care of business. I think that happens again here in the Regional Final against Saline. Ben Wild and Connor Wright are talented forwards for the Hornets, and have the potential to generate some offense in this matchup, even if they’re up against one of the top goaltenders in the state in Joey Cormier. With play-making forwards on both sides, I could see a lot of up-and-down action but Trenton is more acclimated to a faster pace. I lean in favor of Ethan Holt, Hunter Allen and Collin Preston for the Trojans.