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Catholic Central defeats Grandville, 5-0, to reach fourth consecutive state final

By: Ben Szilagy, March 10, 2017, 10:31 pm

Plymouth – Detroit Catholic Central showed its dominance in Division 1 again on Friday.

The Shamrocks earned the right to defend its state championship with a 5-0 victory over Grandville on Friday night at USA Hockey Arena.

C.C. (22-7-1), making its fourth consecutive final appearance, will take on Brighton (23-6-1) in a rematch of last year’s state championship on Saturday at 6 p.m.

“I try to look at each year as a new year because you always have a new group of kids that come into your program. The target is always on our back,” Catholic Central coach Brandon Kaleniecki said.

“That comes with the territory, though when you play for us. We’re just really happy to be playing hockey on the last day of the season because that’s what you hope for.”

Catholic Central took a 1-0 lead 5:12 into the first period when junior Dylan Montie ripped a shot on net. Senior Jack Chartier screened the goaltender and deflected the puck to secure the lead.

The Shamrocks looked to sophomore Rylan Clemons to lead the charge in the second and third periods.

“He’s been a good player for us all year. He stepped up right from the get go. You look at his numbers and look at the way he’s produced. We weren’t sure if he’d be on the varsity team,” Kaleniecki said.

“For him to do what he’s done not only today, but for us this season it’s great to see. He’s worked extremely hard, and taken advantage of his opportunities. He deserves this moment.”

Clemons increased the lead to 2-0 when he went in front of the net as forward senior John Zielinsk ripped a shot. Clemons deflected the shot and the puck darted immediately to the near side corner 3:06 into the second.

His second goal came on the power play when Brendan West found Clemons near the net for goal on the doorstep for a 3-0 lead.

“The puck just bounced my way today, and I got some nice passes that put my guy in a position to score goals. I’ve never had a big day like this in my career,” Clemons said.

West played exceptionally well all game. The junior forward had a 20-second series in the second period where he, single-handedly, kept the puck in the Grandville zone fighting through three Bulldog players.

When he wasn’t an impossible shadow to catch, West collected another assist when he found Michael Considine in the third for his second assist that lead to a 4-0 lead. He also had a goal of his own from the slot thirty seconds later for a 5-0 lead.

“Brendan West is our biggest point producer on the team. But besides that, he’s a quiet kid but he has a drive about him,” Kaleniecki added.

“When he gets going he fuels this team. That one shift in the second period where he was dancing all over the ice, in between defenders; part of me as a coach was getting ready to yell at him to move the puck. But at the same time, everyone on the bench was getting geared up.

“When a guy like that is giving that type of energy, it goes a long, long way.”