BOYS HOCKEY: Grand Blanc upsets Clarkston
BY DAN STICKRADT
BLOOMFIELD HILLS — Every team needs a hero in order to advance in the postseason. Grand Blanc had two of them Tuesday night.
Senior forward Jack Clary netted three second-period goals and freshman goaltender Spencer Bully stood on his head, as the Bobcats stunned 11th-ranked Clarkston, 3-2, in a Division 1 pre-regional at the Detroit Skate Club.
Grand Blanc advances to Thursday’s regional semifinal against Lake Orion, also at the DSC. Lake Orion routed Fenton, 12-0, in another pre-regional game Tuesday.
As for Grand Blanc (11-15-1), the Bobcats were outplayed for stretches of the contest, only to see Clary up his season total to 36 tallies.
“It’s the old adage. Keep shooting the puck and see what happens,” noted Grand Blanc coach Bryan Byarski.
Clary tied the game just 53 seconds into the second period, when he scored on a power play breakaway.
He scored again with 11:46 left in the period, this time unleashing a long shot that deflected off Clarkston goaltender Jack Viazanko’s pads and into the net. The Bobcats never trailed again.
Despite being outshot 35-17 overall on the night and outshot in each period individually, Grand Blanc upped its lead to 3-1 with 2:51 left in the second period, this time with Clary pouncing on his own rebound.
Clarkston (16-8-2) cut into the deficit with just eight ticks left in the second period, as Jacob Laporte finished off passes from Chase Widemann and Shawn Cotter. The Wolves could not net the equalizer in the final period.
“The second period didn’t go very well for us,” offered Clarkston coach Bryan Krygier. We dug ourself a hole in the second period and couldn’t dig ourself out of it. It’s never easy coming back.
“It’s really disappointing because we didn’t play the ay we practice,” continued Krygier, who will graduate 14 players from this roster. “We play a really tough schedule to prepare us for games like these. We do that to improve and try to peak for the end of the season. I don’t think we played very well as a whole tonight and you can’t do that in the (postseason). That’s what’s really disappointing.”
Clarkston outshot Grand Blanc 11-6 in the final period, only to see its season come to an end despite the constant flurry at the Bobcats’ net.
Bully turned aside 33 shots on the night, including the final 11 shots he faced, for Grand Blanc.
Laporte staked Clarkston to 1-0 lead with a goal with 24 seconds into the first period. Clary quickly switched the momentum over in the second period for the Bobcats.
“I think they came in here and thought they had the game won. But we had something to prove,” said Clary. “I thought our goaltender was awesome tonight. He’s only a freshman. He’s a big reason why we won.”
Byarski knows his team will need additional help as the remaining teams in the regional have all been ranked this season, including Lake Orion, Rochester United and Macomb Dakota.
“We’re going to ride those two as long as we can,” smiled Byarski . “We lost some games that we really should have won, and it’s been a battle this year of getting guys to finish the game. We’ve had some close losses. But we have been playing really well as of late. We’ve won something like (seven of our last nine games).”
Division 1 — 1. Novi Detroit Catholic Central; 2. Rochester United; 3. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s; 4. Detroit U-D Jesuit; 5. Brighton; 6. Bay City Central; 7. Northville; 8. Birmingham Brother Rice; 9. Plymouth; 10. Lake Orion.
Next 10: Clarkston, Macomb Dakota, Howell, Utica Eisenhower, Plymouth Salem, Jenison, Troy Athens, Woodhaven, Grandville, Troy
Division 2 — 1. Trenton; 2. Novi; 3. Livonia Stevenson; 4. Midland Dow; 5. Saginaw Heritage; 6. Grosse Pointe South; 7. Hartland; 8. Berkley Unified; 9. Escanaba; 10. Port Huron Northern.
Next 10: Rochester Stoney Creek, Traverse City Central, Romeo, Muskegon Reeths Puffer, Bay Area Thunder, Warren De La Salle, White Lake Lakeland, Ann Arbor Pioneer, Davison, Anchor Bay
Division 3 — 1. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood; 2. Houghton; 3. Sault Ste. Marie; 4. Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett; 5. Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills; 6. Flint Powers Catholic; 7. Grand Rapids Christian; 8. Birmingham Detroit Country Day; 9. Grand Rapids Catholic Central; 10. Dearborn Divine Child.
Next 10: Hancock, Farmington, Allen Park, Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, East Grand Rapids, Cadillac, Painsdale-Jeffers, Riverview Gabriel Richard, Alpena, Chelsea.