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State Bound: D-III

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



Region 17

Game number four in the season series between Calumet and Houghton. It’s a shame only one of these teams can advance past the Regional rounds because they both could be legitimate players in Division-III. The Copper Kings carry the series lead two games to one, but the Gremlins claimed the most recent decision 3-2 on Feb. 18th. Scott Loukus and company provide a significant edge in offensive options up front, with as many as six legitimate scoring threats. Houghton has had plenty of looks at them though, and I think that familiarity with opponents makes for a much lower-scoring game. Watch Jimmy Pietila steal this one in a stunner for the Gremlins.






Region 18

The two lowest-ranked teams to face off in a Regional Final on Wednesday, as Gaylord checks in at No. 84 and Sault Ste Marie at 119th. The two teams skated to a 6-3 finish in early January, favoring The G Men. Senior Gabe Kleinsorge had a monster performance in the first matchup and I anticipate him having another big game for Gaylord with the season on the line. The Soo could put up a fight early on, but once Kleinsorge and that top line get loose, I think Gaylord pulls away with it.



Sault Ste Marie



Region 19

It’s a Mid-Michigan Matchup for the Regional Final between Midland Dow and Flint Powers. Austin Iueter’s three-point night capped off a dominant performance in favor of Dow 5-1 in an earlier meeting between these two teams. It was far from Powers’ best game of the season and I expect them to put up a much better fight in the rematch. Joey Carpenter and Tim Washburn were kept in check the first time but could both get loose on Wednesday, making for a close game down the stretch. I’ll stick with Dow outlasting Powers in the third period, with Luke Blasy working some late-game magic again.

Midland Dow


Flint Powers



Region 20

The top two players in the Grand Rapids area go head-to-head in this one, with Forest Hills Central’s Mason Kelly squaring off against Jacob Onstott and GRCC. If the top two lines go head-to-head, I think it favors the Cougars. If Coach Kevin Zaschak can get Kelly and Ryan Jeffreys away from the 1-v-1 matchup, I think they can exploit some mismatches in CC’s depth. This will be a chess match behind the benches and I could see multiple lead changes in this one, making for some exciting championship hockey. May even need OT to decide a winner but I’ll give the Rangers the slightest of edges because of depth guys and Gavin Brady between the pipes.



Forest Hills Central



Region 21

They’re tied for most wins in the state, the two-time defending, reigning D-III champs and I feel like Country Day is being overlooked somehow. The top line is dangerous, and now Dallas Hood is starting to really heat up over the last month, along with Lucas Krol and Logan Gotinsky. I think Yellowjackets overwhelm Pinckney early and often, continuing their title defense on to the State Playoffs as they flirt with a potential three-peat.



Country Day



Region 22

University Liggett pulled off a huge upset in the Semifinals against No. 10 U-D Jesuit. Their reward for winning? No. 4-ranked Grosse Pointe South. Grant Lindsay’s 46-save effort and Doug Wood’s five-point performance for the Knights were sensational, but the Blue Devils present a significantly tougher challenge in the Championship. First-year coach Paul Moretz’ squad attacks opponents wave after wave after wave, and I expect more of the same in this matchup. They could hit the same wall the Cubs ran into with Lindsay in net, but I think GPS has a few more pure scorers than Liggett has faced in the past.

University Liggett


Grosse Pointe South



Region 23

Chelsea and Churchill are set to clash at the Arctic Coliseum. It’s a matchup of polar opposites as well, with the Bulldogs coming in offense heavy and the Chargers being pretty stingy defensively. Coach Jason Reynolds’ squad has allowed just eight goals against in their last seven games and they’re a scrappy bunch that’s tough to put away. I like Churchill to hang around for a while and battle right down to the end, with Chelsea scoring late to decide it. Between Tyler Valik, Gabe Vowles, Devin McIntyre and Corbin Steele, they’re able to spread things out and exploit some mismatches.

Livonia Churchill





Region 24

I don’t know about this one. Don’t have a good feeling at all. Nathan Vazquez has been pretty well contained in the previous two meetings against Riverview, and think that’s why Gabriel Richard hasn’t been able to quite get over the hump in the rivalry this season. I don’t think the Pirates can keep Vazquez quiet for a third straight game but also not convinced the Pioneers have an answer for Gavin Holmes and Ryan Herzog, who have accounted for all six goals scored for Riverview in this series. It’s a tight, ugly, knock-down, drag-out game where Riverview hangs on and survives to win.



Gabriel Richard