Detroit C.C. starts fast, defeats Northville 4-1 in tourney opener
Plymouth – Detroit Catholic Central’s road to repeat as Division 1 champs had a major roadblock in front of it in a very good Northville team in the opening night of the tournament.
The Shamrocks rode a two-goal first period to a 4-1 victory over the Mustangs at USA Hockey Arena on Monday night.
“It’s huge,” Catholic Central coach Brandon Kaleniecki said. “Anytime you can get up on any team early, its great. It makes them come and get you. It forces teams off their game plan a bit, and it can be tough to play catch up.”
Catholic Central (19-7-0) didn’t record a shot in the first five minutes and the Shamrocks looked to a couple of unfamiliar faces to get on the board in the first period.
With 11:22 remaining in the first period, Catholic Central won the face-off in the left circle. Senior Alex Kreutzer blasted a shot from the point, while Cody Borke screened the net. Borke jumped on the rebound and gave the Shamrocks a 1-0 lead.
“We wanted to come out hard, and ready to play,” Borke said. “The puck came out right to me. It was exciting to get my team’s first goal. I was in the right place at the right time.”
Last year’s state championship team was loaded with juniors and seniors, but two sophomores helped C.C. increase its lead.
“The second one way nice because the guys played the puck hard, and forced a turnover,” Kaleniecki said. “To have guys contribute to the team and have success is great. We have our Mulka’s and Mancinelli’s who give us a boost. It was great to see two guys that people don’t know step up for us.”
Sophomore Brendan West forced a turnover behind the Northville net. Fellow sophomore Jared Lee scored his fourth goal of the season as he camped out in the slot and finished the one-time pass for a 2-0 lead.
The Mustangs (17-8-1) fought back in the second period and pulled within one, 2-1, when senior Dylan Coomes put back a rebound 2:51 into the second period.
C.C. senior Kyle Mulka regained the Shamrocks’ two-goal lead on an unassisted goal as he skated between the circles and fired a wrist shot with 6:05 left in the second period.
“We talked about the momentum swings through the course of the game, especially in the playoffs. Emotions can go one way or the other pretty quick. That third goal was huge. It swung the momentum back in our favor, and we were more comfortable the rest of the game,” Kaleniecki said.
JoJo Mancinelli completed the scoring on power play goal midway through the third.
As efficient as Catholic Central was on offense, its special teams unit received extra work as the Shamrocks killed six penalties. Kaleniecki said that if his team wants to advance in the playoffs that must change.
“We played with tenacity,” Kaleniecki said. “We were hard on pucks. The guys were working and back-checking, but we took a few too many penalties. If we don’t take those penalties, then we can limit opportunities.
“We got a lot of work on our penalty kill, which I’m not a fan of. We addressed it at the end of the game. That’s something that just can’t happen during this time of year.”