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Chelsea Showcase: Saturday Picks

By Craig Peterson 01/30/2020, 8:00am EST

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1st

 

Gaylord vs. Macomb Dakota

BREAKDOWN: Another great measuring stick for the Blue Devils, but Shane Romback and Joey Gavlinski are just the tip of a dangerous offensive iceberg that has nine different skaters with at least five goals apiece. 

PREDICTION:

#26 Macomb Dakota

5

#65 Gaylord

1


 

Marquette vs. West Ottawa

BREAKDOWN: If Luke Linart gets loose, he could wreak havoc on Saturday. Ultimately, I think Gaetano Cammarata, Jakob Peterson and Cooper Anderson are too much for WO to keep up with. Redmen roll through the weekend.

PREDICTION:

#43 West Ottawa

1

#7 Marquette

5


 

Traverse City West vs. Chelsea

BREAKDOWN: Surprisingly, Chelsea may present the biggest offensive threat to TC West this weekend. Tyler Valik, Gabe Vowles and Devin McIntyre’s combined 48 goals may just be too much in this instance. Chiefs win by a small margin.

PREDICTION:

#69 Chelsea

3

#50 Traverse City West

2


 

Escanaba vs. Jenison

BREAKDOWN: Flip a coin. I think this will be a close game against very similarly structured teams. Jenison has five goal scorers in double figures; I’ll lean that way slightly as secondary scoring could be the difference in a tight matchup.

PREDICTION:

#63 Jenison

3

#48 Escanaba

2


 

Byron Center vs. Northville

BREAKDOWN: If Nick McInchak and Levi Sall combine to have a big day, this will be much closer than I’ve got it right now. I just give BC the edge at all three levels up front when it comes to consistent performances.

PREDICTION:

#40 Northville

1

#32 Byron Center

4


 

Bay City vs. Hudsonville

BREAKDOWN: I actually like a couple of Bay City’s forwards. Zac Lewandowski is strong on his skates and powers his way to the net while Jacob Holsing sees the ice and makes plays. Hudsonville has a few more lines than the Wolves though, and can wear out those top threats. I’ll take the up-down theory with Hudsonville to lose their first and win their second game of the showcase.

PREDICTION:

#78 Hudsonville

4

#84 Bay City

3


 

Midland vs. Grand Haven

BREAKDOWN: I don’t think the Chemics blow out Grand Haven but I do believe they’ll dictate the rate of play. Matthew Witt, Tyler Pritchett and Matthew Babinski have a field day on the forecheck and set up shop in the offensive zone for awhile. 

PREDICTION:

#94 Grand Haven

0

#76 Midland

3


 

Lowell/Caledonia vs. Petoskey

BREAKDOWN: Petoskey has dropped five games in a row and I don’t see that changing here against a tough Lo-Cal squad. LC has played a pretty tough slate of games, skating with and beating some pretty high-quality opponents. I’m buying them again here.

PREDICTION

#109 Petoskey

1

#89 Lowell/Caledonia

5


 

Romeo vs. Rochester United

BREAKDOWN: Anticipating a shootout, maybe nine or ten total goals scored. Kyle Giza leads the way for Romeo but RU’s Matt Kanaras makes a lot of good things happen with a reliable supporting cast. RU continues building something here post-New Year.

PREDICTION

#51 Rochester United

7

#70 Romeo

3


 

Davison vs. Mona Shores

BREAKDOWN: This game is a way better matchup for Davison. I think McMullen and Schmidt can find more room to operate against the Sailors and find a couple nice looks at the net. It’s not a shoe-in; Mona will play them tough but I think Davison’s top guys get it done here.

PREDICTION

#61 Mona Shores

3

#53 Davison

5


 

Livonia Franklin vs. Portage Central

BREAKDOWN: Hunter Maschke is one to watch in this tilt. He’s averaging a goal per game and put up five last week alone. He’s finding the back of the net at an impressive rate and I think that continues against the Patriots. 

PREDICTION

#104 Portage Central

6

#91 Livonia Franklin

4


 

East Kentwood vs. Anchor Bay

BREAKDOWN: East Kentwood is in dire need of offense with just five goals scored in the last five games. It’s been a tough stretch of opponents and the Tars are much more evenly matched foe, but I think Tyler Hirn and Evan Prill get it done.

PREDICTION

#99 Anchor Bay

6

#119 East Kentwood

1

 

<<<FRIDAY

SUNDAY>>>

 

 

 

 

Chelsea Showcase: Sunday Picks

By Craig Peterson 01/30/2020, 8:00am EST

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2nd

 

Petoskey vs. Fenton/Linden

BREAKDOWN: Nick Aown and Derek Hebner give Petoskey a good chance on Sunday morning. I like the Griffins but this is a spot where I think the Northmen have the upper hand in a close one decided in the third period.

PREDICTION

#101 Fenton/Linden

3

#109 Petoskey

4


 

Mona Shores vs. White Lake Lakeland

BREAKDOWN: Closest matchup of the weekend according to MyHockeyRankings. Ben Getzen is producing at an impressive clip, but Mona’s combo of Ty Langlois, Trent Benedict and Connor Winegar give them the upper hand with more weapons up front.

PREDICTION

#62 White Lake Lakeland

3

#61 Mona Shores

6


 

Birmingham Unified vs. South Lyon Unified

BREAKDOWN: If BU can keep South Lyon under three goals, they can pull a big upset here in a low-scoring decision. However, SLU has scored four-or-more in 11 straight games heading into the showcase; I don’t see BU slowing them down.

PREDICTION

#18 South Lyon Unified

5

#41 Birmingham Unified

2


 

East Kentwood vs. St. Clair Shores Unified

BREAKDOWN: Whoever wins the first period wins the game; I like SCS to do that as they’ve scored 19 first-period goals — their most in any period. After that, I think they hang on to the lead and stay out in front.

PREDICTION

#116 St. Clair Shores Unified

5

#119 East Kentwood

2


 

Portage Central vs. Anchor Bay

BREAKDOWN: I’d expect a track meet with a lot of up-and-down action and odd-man rushes. Coaches may not want to hear that but it makes for exciting hockey and I think favors playmakers like Justin Hayward to make his presence felt, setting up goal scorers like Hunter Maschke and Jaden Sorenson.

PREDICTION

#99 Anchor Bay

5

#104 Portage Central

6


 

Livonia Franklin vs. Bay City

BREAKDOWN: Bay City’s top guys are just going to be too much to handle in this one. As long as they stay out of the box, I see no reason why Zac Lewandowski and company can’t win this one handedly. 

PREDICTION

#84 Bay City

6

#91 Livonia Franklin

2


 

Bloomfield Hills vs. Romeo

BREAKDOWN: Kyle Lucia has posted back-to-back-to-back hat tricks leading into the Showcase and Jeremy Kahan has been sensational in net for the Black Hawks. I don’t know if Romeo has enough firepower to crack Kahan, so I’ll stick with Bloomfield Hills.

PREDICTION

#70 Romeo

1

#54 Bloomfield Hills 

4


 

Walled Lake Western vs. Troy United

BREAKDOWN: Jeff Petruno,Tommy Patrick and Jake McDonald have all breached the 10-goal plateau for Western. While Troy doesn’t give up much defensively, it’ll be a major challenge keeping all three at bay so I like the Warriors again here to outpace Troy.

PREDICTION

#88 Troy United

3

#64 Walled Lake Western 

5

 

<<<SATURDAY

OPEN>>>

 

 

 

 

Names To Know: 100 - 76

By Craig Peterson 11/18/2019, 9:00am EST

Dominic Rossi, Howell | Livingston Daily100. Dominic Rossi, Senior Defenseman, Howell

Love the way the 6-foot-1 lefty walks the blue line with possession and his head up. Rossi has the ability to distribute or score from that point position and will be a real nice asset for the Highlanders from the back end.

99. Austin Douma, Junior Forward, Lowell-Caledonia

He has great vision and a habit of finding teammates open on the weak side, Douma’s abilities lead to lots of opportunities on the offensive end and he can be a huge asset on the power play.

98. Hunter Maschke, Senior Forward, Portage Central

A nice goal-scorer’s touch around the net, the 5-foot-8 Maschke tallied 16 goals as a junior and led west-siders in scoring on Team Green in the MDHL this fall. 

97. Jason Crossland, Senior Forward, Dearborn Unified

The big-bodied 17-year-old is an absolute point producer. Crossland needs just one point as a senior to reach the 100-point plateau in his impressive three-year career and his final campaign could be his best.

96. Judd Lawson, Junior Goalie, Bay Reps

He’s got good size and moves with confidence, anticipating the play well. Lawson had a sub-2.00 goals-against average in limited time last season and the net is his for the taking now in year two.

95. Maanas Sharma, Senior Forward, Novi

A reliable two-way player with a solid release, Sharma is expected to have an impact in every aspect of the game for the Wildcats. Should be a do-it-all type player on offense, defense and both ends of special teams.

94. Connor Wright, Senior Forward, Saline

The Hornets are 27-2-2 in games over the past two seasons where Wright records a point. 

He’s been a big part of the Saline offense and is poised to play an even bigger role this season.

93. Jack Myers, Senior Forward, Rochester United

If expectations are to remain high around RU after last year’s run, they’ll have to lean heavily on upperclassmen like Myers to lead the charge in his final season. He’s certainly capable of carrying the load up front. 

92. Nathan Milanowski, Junior Forward, East Grand Rapids

Had a pretty quiet fall season but make no mistake, Milanowski is capable of scoring in bunches. The 5-foot-9 forward had 11 multi-point games as a sophomore and finished with the highest rating among Pioneers at plus-31.

91. Grant Neuhardt, Sophomore Goalie, Traverse City Central

Played a ton last year as a freshman, 23 starts to be exact, and took huge strides in his development this fall with one of the best save percentages in the MDHL. A young ‘04, Neuhardt has potential to be one of the better young goalies in the state. 

90. Kade Manzo, Junior Forward, Lake Orion

A three-sport athlete for the Dragons, who stars in football and lacrosse while also hanging 36 points as a sophomore last season. Manzo is a well-rounded athlete and his game on the ice reflects that, averaging a point per game in his young career.

89. Luke Linart, Senior Forward, West Ottawa

He’s a fast-paced player that can catch and make passes without breaking stride. Linart can buzz on the forecheck at times too and use his feet to create opportunities in the offensive zone.

88. Andrew Hovey, Senior Forward, Mount Pleasant

Maybe one of the best wrist shots in all of Mid-Michigan, Hovey has good size and smooth hands and can bring a real physical presence to the game as well. Most impactful when he plays center, where he can be engaged in the play at both ends.

87. Carson Peters, Junior Forward, Traverse City Central

Small in stature at 5-foot-7 but a fearless competitor that will challenge anyone in a battle along the boards. Peters has 35 points in 50 career games and is only halfway through his tenure, adding a ton of value to the Trojans’ lineup.  

86. Max Rallis, Junior Defenseman, Novi

A sure-handed, puck-moving D-man with a swift release. Rallis is always looking to jump into the play and be active in the offense whether it be even strength or on the power play. 

85. Adam Yost, Senior Goalie, Divine Child

Takes up the bottom third of the net with his butterfly and eats up a lot of opportunities in close quarters. His numbers won’t overwhelm you but if you read between the lines, Yost will give his Falcons squad a chance to win every night.

84. Seth Bjorge, Senior Forward, Northville

Had a relatively quiet junior campaign with five goals and 15 points in his first season. As an upperclassman, he’ll be relied upon a ton in his second season after the Mustangs graduated 13 seniors last spring.

83. Mason Kelly, Junior Forward, Forest Hills Central

The ‘02 power forward scored 15 goals, most of which came against FHC’s toughest opponents last season. With the Rangers ready to erupt in ‘19-20, Kelly should be at the forefront of a strong campaign for FHC.

82. Cameron Cain, Junior Forward, Forest Hills Northern-Eastern

All-State honorable mention last season as a sophomore, he totaled seven goals and 18 points, returning as FHNE’s leading scorer. With a full season under his belt, Cain has potential to explode as an up-and-coming west-side forward.

81. Timothy Washburn, Senior Forward, Flint Powers

Put up 32 points as a forward last season for the Chargers but made the transition to defense this fall for the Top 80 Showcase. May be a sign of things to come? Washburn has a formidable skillset that should allow him to create from either spot.

80. Adam Strehlke, Senior Forward, Grosse Pointe South

A point per game guy in the MIHL last year, Strehlke produced in some of the Blue Devils’ biggest games. The ‘02 forward is a well-rounded athlete that can help GPS compete against the top teams it will face this season.

79. Ioannis Moutzalias, Junior Goalie, Allen Park

He’s big and takes up a lot of net, Moutzalias appeared in 19 games as a sophomore. Showed some flashes in his first season of the MDHL and no doubt benefitted from competing at a fast pace this fall. 

78. Brennan Hakkola, Junior Goalie, Marquette

Compiled an 8-2-1 record and a sub-2.00 goals-against average in his first season as a backup. In line for a bigger slice of minutes with the departure of recently graduated Tyler Bergwall, the 5-foot-10 Hakkola has all the tools to backstop the Redmen full-time. 

77. Cameron Massy, Senior Forward, Big Rapids

First one in and last one out of the offensive zone. Loves to go north and will have good production for the Cardinals but would like to see him really buckle down in the defensive end a little bit more.

76. Jim Bolanowski, Senior Goalie, Alpena

Only played in six games last season playing behind 6-foot-5 Cooper Black. However, Jimmy B casts a 6-foot-4 shadow of his own and now into the spotlight, could turn Alpena into “Goalie High” if he follows up Black’s stellar season with an outstanding outing of his own in ‘19-20.

75 - 51

 

 

 

 

 

Standouts From The MDHL

By Craig Peterson 09/16/2019, 11:30am EDT

Players off to a hot start from the first half of the fall season

The Michigan Developmental Hockey League (MDHL) breached the halfway point of its fall regular season this past weekend. The six-team league is as talented as it has been in recent memory and the parody in the standings is evidence of that. Team Black sits in first place at 4-2-0 with the next four teams in the standings tied with a 3-3-0 record.

More than 130 players representing 47 different schools comprise of the league’s makeup this year, from every corner of the lower peninsula. The MDHL is extremely diverse with representatives spanning everywhere from Traverse City, Alpena, Portage, Hudsonville and of course, metro Detroit. 

The league-style format of the MDHL is something I personally enjoy and it maintains that prep-like atmosphere with teams, and players, developing over the course of a season. With games on the weekends, the overall structure lends itself to players from all over the state to participate and the league makeup definitely supports that theory. I also think the addition of a four-team showcase that the organization hosted at Plymouth Cultural Center last week — featuring Toronto area’s St. Michael’s as well as Lake Forest Academy from Illinois — is a fantastic concept, adding even more competition and exposure to the fold.

At the halfway point of league-play, I wanted to highlight some of the standouts and noteworthy tidbits as the season progresses and we creep closer and closer to November.

Let’s start at the top. 

There are two individuals who have really separated themselves from the rest of the state as far as prospects are concerned. A pair of seniors from Detroit Catholic Central, forward Kyle Gaffney and defenseman Brendan Miles, appear to be 1a and 1b by my estimation, both with a ton of potential. 

Gaffney makes the easy plays look effortless and the hard plays look easy. He just looks so smooth. Nothing rattles the kid. He doesn’t seem to get too high or too low, just a machine on the ice that constantly produces and makes plays happen all over the ice. 

On the backend, Miles is everything you look for in a D-man. The 5-foot-10 right-hand shot absolutely wires passes all around the rink, snapping ‘em tape-to-tape and threading the puck through windows few can even see, let alone fit a pass into. 

I know it’s probably a bit predictable to say the best program in the state has the best players in the state, but these two are special and coach Brandon Kaleniecki will have plenty of weapons at his disposal to make another run this winter. 

Luke Blasy (Midland Dow, 2020) is a fun watch. His motor never stops running and he’s in the mix all over the ice. I think every young hockey player is told “keep your feet moving” on more than one occasion but few can ever truly do it. Blasy is one of the special ones in that regard and it helps him create a lot of opportunities. One under-appreciated asset of his game: his head is always up, constantly surveying the ice with and without the puck.

Livonia Stevenson had a lot of good, young forwards last year and depth up front was a real big strength for them having four evenly-balanced lines. But some of those young guys have now developed into thriving, dangerous offensive threats this fall with the emergence of Brenden Heard (2021) and Seth Lause (2020). 

Heard leads the league in scoring with 11 points in six games and is lethal on the offensive rush. He just has a knack for finishing, with a wicked wrist shot and a nose for the net. He’s not the biggest but he doesn’t need to be with his speed and scorer’s touch around the crease. 

His fourth season in the MDHL as he enters his fourth year for the Spartans. Lause’s wealth of experience is a rarity in metro Detroit and is putting all the tools together for his final lap around the high school calendar. He’s always had the hockey smarts but now his game on the ice is catching up to his mind and he’s playing as fast as he’s thinking. 

I don’t know what they’re feeding defensemen on the west side but I sure wish I could’ve been served a few plates of it when I played. From 6-foot-3 David Breazeale (Grandville, 2018) to 6-foot-3 Anthony Mollica (Jenison, 2019) to 6-foot-3 Kavanaugh Kane (GR Christian, 2019), doesn’t matter the school, west Michigan just produces big, graceful, puck-moving defensemen by the carload. 

Team Green — the West-Michigan representative of the league and defending champion from 2018 — continues the trend of towering defenders with 6-foot-4 Ashton Bol (GR Christian, 2020), 6-foot-2 Justin Hayward (Portage Central, 2020) and 6-foot-2 Trevor Davis (Byron Center, 2021). I’d hate to be a forward in Grand Rapids trying to get around these guys on a line rush this winter. They’re big, good on puck retrievals and do a nice job of keeping things simple in their own end, making quality outlet passes and moving the puck in the right direction. 

Players from Brighton are so nice, they name ‘em twice, I guess. Whether it’s Will Jentz (2020) — James Jentz depending on the source — or Logan Mitchell-Petitta (2021), these guys have enough game to fill two sets of skates, so they just get two names. 

LMP began league play like a bat outta Hell, scoring six points in the first weekend of action and looking like one of the best players in the MDHL. He’s cooled off a bit since then and I’d like to see him get back to where he started but he’s certainly showed an ability to produce at an impressive clip. I’m excited to see where his game goes moving forward. 

Jentz is another one of those rare four-year guys on the east side who’s done it all, seen it all and is well-known in the high school circles. Between the MDHL and winter season, he’s averaged a point per game for the last three years. That’s no simple task, given the competitiveness of the fall league and grueling schedule that the Bulldogs play, but Jentz is as steady as they come.

As far as goalies, it seems like a real close race amongst several and I’m waiting to see how the rest of the season plays out. There’s reputable names like Joey Cormier (Trenton, 2020), Caden Fisher (Grandville, 2020) Drew Adams (Gabriel Richard, 2020) and Tate Potteiger (East Grand Rapids, 2020) who are three-year guys in the thick of things with new names such as Brenden Stroble (Livonia Stevenson, 2021) and Adam Blust (Detroit Catholic Central, 2020).

With an average of 8.6 total goals scored per game, this star-studded league makes it a challenge on the goalies, but give it a few more games to let the dust settle and you really might see a few separate themselves from the herd. 

Who’s caught your eye this fall? Continue the discussion with me on Twitter as we get closer and closer to the regular season!