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Hartland captures third state title in five seasons

By Michael Caples, High School Hockey Hub, 03/15/22, 9:15PM EDT


PLYMOUTH - There aren’t many teams in high school hockey that can compete with the success Hartland has found on the ice over the last decade.

With a 3-2 win over Trenton in the MHSAA Division 2 championship game on Saturday at USA Hockey Arena, the Eagles captured their third title in the last five seasons.

Over the span of the last decade, Hartland has three titles, two second-place finishes, and they were on their way to the state semifinals two years ago before the season ended prematurely.

“We’ve had a ton of success,” Hartland head coach Rick Gadwa told the media shortly after celebrating his program’s latest championship. “What’s impressive about this group is none of these guys have been to USA Hockey Arena. We had quite a bit of returners who were with us last year when we lost to a very good Byron Center team. So, there’s a tradition of excellence right now. To see them get here this year and fight the way they had to fight and get it done just makes our tradition so much stronger. It’s something for guys coming in next year to try to get to.”


Photo by Michael Caples/High School Hockey Hub

The victory came in thrilling fashion Saturday morning, as Trenton took the Eagles to overtime. There, it was freshman forward Ian Kastamo playing the hero role, despite being the shortest player on the Hartland roster.

Beaming from ear to ear while sitting alongside some of his elder teammates for the postgame press conference, Kastamo confessed that the 5-foot-6, 130-pound statistics next to his name in the finals program may be a little generous. That didn’t stop him from driving to the net and getting his stick on a loose puck before any of the Trenton players could get there, scoring a goal most players only dream of in the process.

“I watched games my whole life,” Kastamo said. “I’ve seen the big crowd, the energy, how fun it looks. This is my dream come true to play for this team, much less win the state championship.”

Lucas Henry and Ashton Trombley scored the goals in regulation for Hartland, while Kameron Ragon stopped 17 of the 19 shots sent his way between the pipes.

Carter Allen scored the game’s first goal for Trenton, while Hayden Oboza scored with less than two minutes remaining in regulation to force overtime. Noah Miklos, a huge reason for Trenton’s second-half success and march to Plymouth, stopped 31 of 34 shots in goal for the Trojans.