Brother Rice applies pressure, scores big victory over Cranbrook Kingswood
By Jon Pfaff
Oak Park – Saturday night’s matchup at Oak Park Ice Arena pitted the defending Division 2 champion Birmingham Brother Rice against the defending Division 3 champs, the Cranes of Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood.
Brother Rice won 5-1 with solid goaltending from junior Ryan Hoffman and a two-goal performance from senior forward Emerson Vogel.
Brother Rice jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a long pass from junior forward Will Duncan to Vogel who was all alone for a breakaway at the blue line.
“I felt pretty good, especially with our team play because we’ve been struggling lately,” Vogel said.
Cranbrook Kingswood played well early as it carried the play for much of the first period. The Cranes had and four power-play chances but were unable to capitalize on their first two advantages, finding themselves down 2-0 at the 7:35 mark of the period.
Cranbrook Kingswood broke through with just under two minutes to go in the first on an unassisted power-play goal from senior forward CJ Regula.
“I liked the first period, I thought we were good. We outshot them, we were all over them and then later on we got in penalty trouble and it changed the game,” Cranbrook Kingswood coach Andy Weidenbach said.
Brother Rice came out strong in the second period as it held an 8-3 advantage in shots and it benefitted from three power plays. The Cranes killed off the shorthanded situations but it allowed Rice to spend a lot of time in the opposition’s zone.
“I felt like the penalties in the second period really hurt them,” Brother Rice coach Lou Schmidt said.
The Warriors found the back of the net for the third time with 4:55 left in the second on a backhander from senior defenseman Jaret Koger.
Cranbrook Kingswood started the third period shorthanded but was able to kill off the remainder of the penalty, giving it life in a close game. Seconds after the teams went back to even strength Brother Rice netted another goal on Vogel’s second of the night.
“Every shift, every period today we were all over them. Hitting them and wearing them down definitely helped us win,” Vogel said.
“Cranbrook is always a good win to get,” junior forward Michael McInerney said.
McInerney was out injured for Saturday’s contest but is the team’s third leading scorer behind junior forward Mitch Shults and senior forward Nick Bowman.
Brother Rice added a goal late in the period. Junior forward Will Duncan scored on assists from Mitch Shults and junior forward Alec DeLuca.
“I like where we’re at, but I can tell you there seems to be a lot of parity this year,” Schmidt said when asked of his team’s chances of repeating as champions.
“It’s going to be tough.”