Brighton skates past Grandville, advances to Division 1 finalHockey  |
Plymouth – Returning to Plymouth after missing the semifinals for the first time in four years a season ago, Brighton wasted little getting going against Grandville on Friday night as the Bulldogs looked to make their fourth Division 1 finals appearance in five years.
Brighton took a 1-0 lead just three minutes into Friday’s game and never looked back, skating to a 4-1 win over Grandville, last year’s runner up in Division 1.
With the win, Brighton (22-8) advances to the Division 1 final, where it will face Detroit Catholic Central, the two-time defending champs in Division 1.
Brighton coach Paul Moggach said that he felt that in a game like Friday’s semifinal, it was important for his team to start out strong and grab an early lead.
“I think it was great,” he said. “I think when you start a game in an environment like we were in, it’s really important to get that first goal. I think that got us going early.”
Joey Clifford’s goal gave Brighton the early 1-0 lead in the first period with an assist to Nick Foran, and Brighton would take that lead into the second period.
Clifford said that he felt getting the first goal was important for his team for momentum purposes, and allowed Brighton to play with confidence early on.
“To get that first goal of the game, especially in this type of big game is huge, I feel like it gets the momentum going and you get the first lead, so they have to score to get it tied up,” he said. “Nick Foran was looking at me, it was a great play and he set me up.”
The Bulldogs then padded their lead early on in the second period when Jake Crespi took a pass from Foran on a breakaway to make it 2-0.
Brighton would head into the second intermission with a comfortable 3-0 lead after a Ben Peterson goal with 5:47 left in the second period.
Moggach said that with his team having been in the semifinals and finals in three of the previous four years, it helped himself and the other coaches on his coaching staff.
“A lot of these players, I think that only one was here (two years ago), so it’s a new group every time,” he said. “But I think it helps for us coaches too to have been here those times. We know what it takes, we know how to be calm. I think we were calmer here than we were in the pre-regionals, so I think it helps.”
Brighton would later push its lead to 4-0 midway through the third period when Lee Pietila found the back of the net, to all but seal the win and a berth in the Division 1 final for the Bulldogs.
Grandville’s (22-6-1) lone goal of the game was scored by David Breazeale with 7:17 remaining in the game to cut the deficit to 4-1.