Cranbrook rolls past Riverview, advances to second Division 3 state title game in three years
Plymouth – With the memory of last year’s stunning loss at the hands of eventual state champion Farmington still in the back of its mind, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood has been on a mission throughout the Division 3 playoffs this season.
The Cranes had outscored its first four playoff opponents 32-5, and the dominance didn’t stop there.
Cranbrook continued its stellar play on Friday as the Cranes skated to a convincing 8-0 win over Riverview, with the game-ending goal coming less than three minutes into the third period.
Cranbrook coach Andy Weidenbach said that he wasn’t expecting such a lopsided outcome and added that his senior class has been determined in the postseason after last year.
“No, not at all,” he said. “We knew they had a great goaltender, we didn’t do a lot of scouting on Riverview, but in the playoffs, anything can happen. Last year, we were on the reverse side of a miracle when we were upset by Farmington and their goaltender was outstanding. We’re loaded with seniors this year and because of what happened last year, our seniors are hungry to make a good showing in the playoffs.”
Up next for Cranbrook is the Division 3 state finals where the Cranes will face either Houghton or Flint Powers Catholic on Saturday afternoon.
With Cranbrook leading 2-0 heading into the second period, the Cranes wasted little time widened their lead as Shawn O’Malley scored with just over 10 minutes to play and not long after, Hockey Player of the Year Finalist Austin Alger found the back net to push the lead to 4-0.
Jack Blumberg would then add two more goals in a span of three minutes with under 10 minutes to go, earning himself a hat trick and O’Malley would score once again as Cranbrook took a 7-0 lead into the second intermission.
Senior Cooper Stahl said that last year’s loss, along with the loss he and his teammates suffered in the regional final to Marysville when he was a freshman have been motivating factors for he and his teammates during Cranbrook’s playoff run.
“We were both on the team that lost to Marysville in the regional final in our freshman year,” he said. “That’s been in the back of our minds and I think that’s motivated us through the whole playoffs.”
The final goal of the game, a shorthanded goal off the stick of Joey Dumas, brought the game to a close early in the third period.
For Riverview, the 8-0 score didn’t show how well that goaltender Spencer Proudluck, who still made 45 saves in the loss for the Pirates.
“I’ve come close, but I didn’t have as much pressure,” he said. “Everybody battled, we battled. It was fun.
“Just play my hardest and try to give my team a chance to win, I feel like I did for a while, but after so many, they just started getting through.”
Blumberg and Alex Lycett scored the first period goals for Cranbrook, with both assists being credited to Alger, who had four assists on the day for the Cranes.
Alger said that he thinks being able to win a state title with his senior class would be a great way to finish off their high school careers.
“I just think finishing it off with such a great group of seniors would be great,” said Alger. “As long as we put our nose to the grindstone, we’ll be happy.”