Cranbrook captures 17th state title with 4-0 win over Houghton in D-3 Championship game
PLYMOUTH — A year ago, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood got shut out of defending its state championship when it made an early exit against Farmington in the Division 3 playoffs.
Upon returning to the title game, the Cranes experienced a much better ending.
The Cranbrook-Kingswood offense peppered Houghton goaltender Marcus Gloss with 50 shots Saturday during a 4-0 shutout at Compuware Arena that brought the Cranes their 17th state championship trophy.
“These guys have seen the ups and down of hockey,” Cranbrook-Kingswood coach Andy Weidenbach said. “I’m happy that they could go out on top of their senior season.”
It took just for 42 seconds into the first period for the Cranbrook to light the lamp.
Senior Sean O’Leary drilled a shot from the point that glanced off Gloss’ pad and skirted toward the right side of the net. Senior Mason Schultz corralled the rebound to make it 1-0.
O’Leary also set up the second goal. He drilled a shot from the left circle that squirted free, and junior Cole Adaskaveg slammed the rebound int the net for a 2-0 lead with 10:22 left in the opening period.
“We got a couple good bounces,” Weidenbach said. “A couple of those bounces ended up on our sticks. Sometimes, the game goes that way, and today we capitalized.”
The third goal of the first period happened on a redirection in front of the net. Sophomore Alex Lycett ripped a shot from the blue line. Blake Rogow redirected the puck to make it 3-0.
Cranbrook-Kingswood (24-2-4) had to weather a five-minute major penalty to close out the first and begin begin the second. Still, Houghton’s offense couldn’t get anything going, manufacturing just one shot on net.
“We had some opportunities, but when you fall behind to a team like Cranbrook, it’s tough” Houghton coach Corey Markham said. “We hoped to create more offense, but getting only one shot was demoralizing for us. Because they move so well, we couldn’t capitalize when we needed to.”
Houghton (23-5-2) had a golden opportunity early in the third period when Reid Pietila raced through the slot and fired a shot that Spencer Applebaum had to catch as the puck slid under his pads to preserve the shutout.
Cranbrook-Kingswood put the exclamation point on its triumphant return to the championship game with crisp passing that produced a power-play goal with 13:05 left in the third period.
Senior Austin Alger moved the puck from the far side to fellow senior Cooper Stahl at the point. The defender quickly slid the puck to the near side, to the left circle and the waiting stick of C.J. Regula, who found the short side of the net with the man advantage.
“Coach always stresses that we need traffic in front of the net," Cranes senior Jack Blumberg said. "In prevous games, we’d outshoot our opponent, but we couldn’t find the back of the net. Today, we had the game plan to create traffic in front of the net, and put away rebounds."
En route to the Division 3 final four, the Cranes outshot their opponents, 103-15.
Asked if he thought Cranbrook was not only the best team in Division 3, but anywhere in the state, Markham didn't hesitate.
“They are the top team and they are the measuring stick in Division 3 for quite some time,” he said. “We haven’t been outshot like that in a long, long time. They make the game tough, and all the credit goes to them.
“There isn’t a big difference between the divisions as some might think. Most of us compete between divisions," he added. "Cranbrook is as good as anyone in the state. not just Division 3.”
EDITOR'S NOTE: Highlights from this game can bee seen on Sunday on Fox Sports Detroit at 9:00 AM