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Boys Ice Hockey Rankings: Brighton and Detroit CC are ranked 1-2

By: Sean Baligian, December 5, 2017, 2:14 pm

Here is a list of the first boys ice hockey rankings as selected by State Champs.

1. Brighton. The defending Division 1 champions are off to a 5-0 start, and play one of the toughest schedules in the state. Coach Paul Moggach has another squad capable of winning it all.

2. Detroit Catholic Central. Coach Brandon Kaleniecki has his Shamrocks off to a 5-0 start in-state, and all eyes will be on Eddie Edgar arena in Livonia on Dec. 16 when Brighton and C.C. renew acquaintances at the 2017 MIHL-KLAA challenge showcase.

3. Livonia Stevenson. The Spartans begin the season as the team to beat in the highly-competitive Division 2. Coach David Mitchell has another deep team, and the Spartans are off to a 4-1 start, with their only loss a three overtime thriller against Brighton.

4. Hartland. Rick Gadwa has established the Eagles as one of the powers in a relatively short time, and his Eagles are off to another good start at 5-0.

5. Hancock. The Bulldogs may be the team to beat in Division 3, as they are off to a 4-1 start, with their only loss coming to Hartland.

6. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood. The Cranes are off to a 6-1 start, and coach Andy Weidenbach’s squad is capable of beating anybody once the Division 1 playoffs start. They host Hartland on Friday matching two of the state’s top six teams.

7. Grandville.  Coach Joel Breazeale takes his Bulldogs anywhere to play anybody, and that has paid off with a slew of deep runs in the state tournament.

8. Utica Eisenhower. Coach Bob Hall has his Eagles off to a fast 4-0 start after sweeping a pair of games in Sault Ste. Marie against Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie. 

9. Flint Powers. Travis Perry has made his team a power in the Division 3 and the Chargers are off to a 3-0-1 start to this new season.

10 Northville. Coach Clint Robert has the Mustangs off to an explosive 3-1 start that has seen his squad score 26 goals in only four games.

11. Plymouth.  The Wildcats are off to a 3-1 start and coach Gerry Vento once again has a squad capable of knocking any team off.

12. Saline. Coach Paul Fassbender is doing a fantastic job with the Hornets, and the 2017 Division 2 semifinalists are off to a 3-0 start.

13. Trenton. The Trojans are off to a 3-2 start, with the losses coming in tight games against Cranbrook Kingswood, and Detroit Catholic Central. Coach Chad Clements has a team that can make a long run in the congested Division 2 ranks.

14. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern-Eastern. Coach Tom Bissett continues to do a great job as his team is off to a 4-2 start after losing in a semifinal and a final the last two seasons.

15.  U-D Jesuit. The Cubs are off to a 3-2 start but, with losses to only Trenton and Brighton, remain a force to be reckoned with in Division 1.

16. Birmingham Brother Rice. The defending Division 2 champs are off to a 2-3 start, but when you consider all of the losses have to come to teams in our top 13 (Detroit Catholic Central, Stevenson and Trenton) you realize that coach Kenny Chaput has another formidable squad. 

17. Grand Rapids Christian. The Eagles are off to a 2-0 start and are another Division 2 team capable of a run all the way to USA Hockey arena in March.

18. Orchard Lake St Mary’s. Coach Brian Klanow and his Eaglets play one of the toughest schedules in the state. They will be ready for all challenges come tournament time.

19. Salt Ste. Marie. The Blue Devils are off to a 4-1-1 start and are a team to watch in the tight Division 3 ranks.

20. Marquette. The Redmen are off to a 3-1 start and are the ninth team from the incredibly deep Division 2 in our top 20.

21. Houghton. The Gremlins are another team willing to travel anywhere to take on anybody. It’s part of the reason you should never be surprised at a long Division 3 run from Houghton.

22. Warren De La Salle.  The Pilots are off to a 2-2 start but the defending Division 3 champions showed us last season what a tough schedule during the regular season can do for a team come playoff time.

23. Saginaw Heritage. The Hawks are off to a 2-0 start and look to continue the success they had in Division 3, into their new home in Division 1.

24. Calumet. The Copper Kings got off to a slow start last year, then went on a tear that saw them appear as a Division 3 finalist. After a slow start this season nobody should be surprised when, not if, this team goes on another run.

25. Midland Dow. The Chargers are off to a fine 4-0 start and should be an intriguing team to watch in Division 2. 


Breakdown by division. Division 1: 9 Teams. Division 2: 10 teams. Division 3: 6 Teams.


The Player of the Year race

F. Adam Conquest, Brighton. Conquest elevated his game on the biggest stage last year at the Division 1 final, playing well in that game for the Bulldogs. He’s a USHL draft pick and Bowling Green commit.

F. Jordan Venegoni, Livonia Churchill. Coach Jason Reynolds could not be happier that this gritty player with a scorer’s touch is back for the Chargers.

F.  Dawson McKay, Houghton. Son of former NHL player Randy McKay, McKay is a strong, study player who can stick handle.

F. Case Kantgias, Cranbrook Kingswood. One of the state’s best skaters, Kantgias has great vision and is an impact player for the Cranes.

F. Josh Albring, Hartland. A "Dream Team" selection last season, Albring has high expectations for himself and his team this his senior season.

F. Alex Nordstrom, Hancock. It’s difficult to believe that Nordstrom is only a junior, as he has been a force for the Bulldogs since his freshman season.

F. Brendan West, Detroit Catholic Central. Creativity is the forte of this talented player, and when you add great hockey sense, you have one of the best players in the state.

D. Jack Sargent, Northville. If it seems like Sargent has been around forever, he has. Now a senior, he remains one of the best skaters in the state.

D. Jake Beaune, Livonia Stevenson. Has made the jump from a very good player to an elite player in his time with the Spartans. An opposing coach recently said "(Beaune) is a beast to play against, he can hurt you in so many ways."

D. Jordan Kovacs, Warren De La Salle.  Kovacs has a tremendous ability to move the puck and generate offense from his own end.

D. Sam Brennan, Brighton. Brennan is strong on the puck, with a quarterback mentality on the Bulldogs blue line. 

G. Will Tragge, Livonia Stevenson. Tragge paid his dues as an understudy to former Stevenson great, Cullen Barber, and rose to the challenge when he took over last year. His desire to get better in every facet of the game has shown along the way.