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Final regular-season rankings for 2020: Shamrocks go into postseason as No. 1; Cranbrook, Howell join top 25

By: SEAN BALIGIAN, February 24, 2020, 11:15 am

After skating since the start of November, and playing games since Nov. 18, the hockey postseason is finally here. It begins Monday night, and will run through the finals at USA Hockey Arena on March 14. 

Here are Sean Baligian’s final regular-season rankings for the 2020 Michigan high school hockey season >>

1 NOVI DETROIT CATHOLIC CENTRAL (17-5) — The Shamrocks finished the regular season on a 10-game win streak, including shutouts of then-No. 1 Livonia Stevenson and Grosse Pointe North. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Wednesday as they open the playoffs against Berkley. (Last ranking: 2)

2 LIVONIA STEVENSON (22-2-1) — The Spartans had their 22-game unbeaten streak snapped with the 4-0 loss to then No. 2 Detroit Catholic Central on Feb. 15, but bounced back with a shutout of Warren De La Salle. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Wednesday as they open the playoffs against Plymouth. (Last ranking: 1)

3 DETROIT COUNTRY DAY (20-3) — Finished the regular season on an eight-game win streak after their last loss, on Jan. 29 to current No. 15 Brighton. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Saturday when they face the winner of the Milford/Cranbrook game. (Last ranking: 6)

4 SAGINAW HERITAGE (21-3) — After beating then-No. 22 Midland Dow to win the Saginaw Valley League, the Hawks had their modest, three-game win streak ended with a loss to current No. 23 Howell, but bounced back with a 6-2 win over No. 13 Hartland on Saturday. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Wednesday as they open the playoffs against Bay Area Thunder. (Last ranking: 6)

5 BIRMINGHAM BROTHER RICE (17-6-2) — The Warriors ended the season with a tie against No. 11 Detroit U-D Jesuit, a 4-2 win over No. 15 Brighton, and a 2-1 loss to current No. 22, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood. The road the USA Hockey arena begins Tuesday as they open the playoffs against West Bloomfield. (Last ranking: 5)

6 CALUMET (19-5-1) — The Copper Kings were just 4-4 in February, but those losses were to No. 2 Livonia Stevenson, No. 12 Marquette, No. 16 Houghton, and one of the top teams in Wisconsin, Green Bay Notre Dame Academy. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Thursday as they open the playoffs against Painesdale-Jeffers. (Last ranking: 3)

7 GROSSE POINTE SOUTH (20-5) — The Blue Devils had a four-game win streak snapped with a 2-1 loss to No. 11 Detroit U-D Jesuit on Feb. 17, but bounced back with a 3-2 win over Macomb Dakota in the regular-season finale. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Wednesday as they open the playoffs against Grosse Pointe North. (Last ranking: 7)

8 TRENTON (17-6-1) — The Trojans lost 4-3 to No. 11 Detroit U-D Jesuit on Feb. 15, but rebounded with wins over Wyandotte Roosevelt and No. 22 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Tuesday as they open the playoffs against Ann Arbor Skyline. (Last ranking: 8)

9 GRAND RAPIDS FOREST HILLS CENTRAL (21-4) — The Rangers have yet to lose in 2020, and go into the postseason on a 14-game win streak. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Saturday when they face the winner of the Jackson Lumen Christi/East Grand Rapids game. (Last ranking: 13)

10 TRAVERSE CITY CENTRAL (20-3-2) — The Big North champs have given up just three goals in four wins after their loss to Orchard Lake St. Mary’s at the MIHL Prep Hockey Showcase. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Saturday as they open the playoffs against Petoskey. (Last ranking: 14)

11 DETROIT U-D JESUIT (14-10-1) — The Cubs finished February on a hot streak, tying No. 5 Brother Rice, beating No. 8 Trenton and No. 7 Grosse Pointe South. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Saturday when they face the winner of the Bishop Foley United/University of Liggett game. (Last ranking: 15)

12 MARQUETTE (21-4) — A 2-1 loss to Hancock on Feb. 18 snapped a 10-game win streak for the Redmen, but they bounced back with a 3-1 win over No. 16 Houghton two days later. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Thursday as they open the playoffs against Kingsford. (Last ranking: 9)

13 HARTLAND (15-6-2) — The Eagles finished February with wins over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and No. 14 Salem, and a 6-2 loss to No. 4 Saginaw Heritage. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Tuesday as they open the playoffs against Fenton-Linden. (Last ranking: 12)

14 SALEM (15-10) — The Rocks bounced back from a Feb. 15 loss to No. 13 Hartland by wrapping up the regular season with a win over Saline. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Tuesday as they open the playoffs against Cabrini. (Last ranking: 11)

15 BRIGHTON (15-8-2) — The Bulldogs snapped a three-game skid with a 5-2 win over Utica Eisenhower on Senior Night on Saturday, going into the postseason on an up note. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Saturday when they face the winner of the Grand Blanc/Orchard Lake St. Mary’s game. (Last ranking: 10)

16 HOUGHTON (16-9)  — The Gremlins won six of their last eight in the regular season, but had a three-game win streak ended with a 3-1 loss to No. 12 Marquette on Feb. 20. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Thursday as they open the playoffs against Hancock. (Last ranking: 17)

17 BAY REPS (17-4-1) — Finished the regular season on a seven-game win streak, after a two-goal loss to No. 10 Traverse City Central on Jan. 18. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Monday as they open the playoffs against Grand Rapids Christian. (Last ranking: 18)

18 ANN ARBOR SKYLINE (19-4) — The Eagles closed out the regular season with a 4-1 stretch after a shootout loss to No. 20 Novi at the MIHL Prep Hockey Showcase on Feb. 6, including a 5-2 win over No. 24 South Lyon. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Tuesday as they open the playoffs against Trenton. (Last ranking: 21)

19 RIVERVIEW (19-5-1) — The Pirates finished the regular season on a 10-1-1 string, wrapping up with a 3-3 tie with Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Tuesday as they open the playoffs against Temperance-Bedford. (Last ranking: 23)

20 NOVI (12-10-3) — The Wildcats ended the regular season on a seven-game unbeaten streak, tying South Lyon 3-3 in the regular-season finale. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Friday as they open the playoffs against South Lyon Unified. (Last ranking: 25)

21 ANN ARBOR PIONEER (21-3-1) — After having their 12-game win streak snapped with a loss to Riverview Gabriel Richard on Feb. 1, Pioneer finished the regular season with a six-game unbeaten streak. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Saturday when they face the winner of Trenton/Ann Arbor Skyline. (Last ranking: 24) 

22 BLOOMFIELD HILLS CRANBROOK-KINGSWOOD (13-9-1) — After a pair of one-goal losses at the showcases in early February, the Cranes lost just once in their final four, that to No. 8 Trenton. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Wednesday as they open the playoffs against Milford. (Last ranking: N/R)

23 HOWELL (15-10) — After two showcase losses pushed their losing skid to four games, the Highlanders ended the regular season on a four-game win streak, including a 7-4 win over No. 24 South Lyon Unified on Feb. 11. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Wednesday as they open the playoffs against WLCW Unified. (Last ranking: N/R)

24 SOUTH LYON UNIFIED (20-4-1) — After South Lyon’s 15-game win streak was snapped with a Feb. 11 loss to No. 23 Howell, Bill McCreary’s squad finished with a 5-2 loss to No. 18 Skyline and a 3-3 tie with No. 20 Novi. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Friday as they open the playoffs against Novi. (Last ranking: 19)

25 JACKSON LUMEN CHRISTI (21-3) — The Titans had a 12-game win streak snapped with a 1-0 loss to Mattawan in the regular-season finale on Feb. 15. The road to USA Hockey Arena begins Tuesday as they open the playoffs against East Grand Rapids. (Last ranking: 20)

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DROPPED OUT: No. 16 Riverview Gabriel Richard, No. 22 Midland Dow 

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CLICK HERE for the initial top 25 rankings of the 2019-20 season.

CLICK HERE for the rankings update from Dec. 16

CLICK HERE for the rankings update from Jan. 13

CLICK HERE for the rankings update from Jan. 27

CLICK HERE for the rankings update from Feb. 10

CLICK HERE to vote in the Michigan High School Hockey Player of the Year contest.