Brother Rice solves G.P. South goaltender Andy Jakub in the second period, defeats Blue Devils, 4-0 in Division 2 semifinals
Plymouth — Birmingham Brother Rice has run into hot goaltenders this post-season eking out wins in both games that were too close for comfort.
After the first period of the Division 2 semifinals against Grosse Point South, the Warriors realized they had confronted another in Andy Jakub.
“He made it look easy on us early,” Brother Rice coach Lou Schmidt said. “We have to play through it. We needed to not only get pucks to the net, but we needed guys to the net.
“If you’re just going to shoot from the perimeter, you’re going to make a goalie look good too. It’s always in the back of your mind, but these guys fought through it.”
Senior Nick Rosa and the Warriors fought through early adversity and found the back of the net in a three-goal second period that propelled Brother Rice into the Division 2 finals with a 4-0 win over the Blue Devils in a Division 2 semifinal on Thursday at Compuware Arena.
Brother Rice (23-6) will face Livonia Stevenson on Saturday in the championship game on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Rosa, the Warriors top goal scorer, put his team on the scoreboard with 6:25 left in the second period. Fellow senior Matt Manning walked the puck along the nearside boards, and passed the puck back to Rosa who picked the right corner for a 1-0 lead.
“It wasn’t a pretty goal because I fanned on the shot,” Rosa said. “A goal is a goal, and I’ll take them anyway I can.”
With 5:37 left in the period senior Conor Dolson pushed the puck ahead to Dane Reinhart in the neutral zone. The senior forward raced past two defenders creating a breakaway that Reinhart cashed in, glove side for a 2-0 game.
Rosa added his 23rd goal of the season when he finished off quick one-timer from senior George Hamaty in the right circle for a 3-0 lead.
“We’ve been trying to take advantage of teams all year in the second period,” Schmidt said. “Getting those three goals, especially the early one, was a morale boost because we were playing flat. Our kids could have been flustered, but they played with energy and opened the game up.”
Senior forward Nick Johns capped the scoring with 7:36 in the third period to give Rice a 4-0 lead when he accepted a Tommy Theoharis pass and went five-hole for his fifth goal of the season.
“That’s a good hockey team,” South coach Bobby McKillop said. “The way they dominate the puck down low, they make you play on your heels. We couldn’t adapt to their speed in the neutral zone.
“We started the season outside the top 25. I graduated really skilled and talented hockey players, and they were missed. You didn’t see any of them out there. Our kids came to play every day, and worked hard. For us to get to this point is huge for us.”
Early in the first period the Blue Devils (21-5-1) kept the game tight thanks to goaltender Andy Jakub who stopped the first 13 shots to keep it tied.
Jakub finished with 27 saves. Brother Rice goalie Nick Macina stopped 24 shots.
Saturday features the top two teams in Division 2 in a rematch of the first game of the season for both teams. Brother Rice won that contest 4-3 in overtime against the Spartans.
“We’re expecting a good back and forth game,” Schmidt said. “Whoever plays a better defensive game, is going to win the state title. We’re both much different teams.
There’s going to be so much emotion. We’re expecting another close game.”