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Ice Hockey Rankings: Powers is undefeated and takes over top spot; Brother Rice is next

By: Sean Baligian, January 9, 2017, 1:06 pm



1. Flint Powers.  The Chargers are 11-0 and have outscored opponents 61-11. Coach Travis Perry’s squad has only allowed more than two goals in a game once this year (4-3 victory over Orchard Lake St Mary’s) and have allowed a goal or less in an amazing eight times in their 11 games. The competition in Division 3 this season is at an all-time high, but they are the team to beat at this point.

2. Birmingham Brother Rice.  The Warriors are the team to beat in the always tough Division 2 ranks as they sit at 9-3.  The average margin of victory in those nine wins is just under five goals per game.

3. Hartland. The Eagles are right on the heels of the Warriors in Division 2 at 11-1, with their only loss coming to Brother Rice. Coach Rick Gadwa’s squad will once again have a say come playoff time.

4. Detroit Catholic Central. Coach Brandon Kaleniecki has his squad at 6-1-1 against in-state opponents. The Shamrocks have outscored those eight opponents, 30-10. Once again the Shamrocks are the team to beat in Division 1.

5. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central. The Rangers are 11-1-1 overall with their only loss coming to Powers, 2-1. Coach Kevin Zaschak has done a tremendous job on the west side of the state building a hockey power.

6. Brighton. The Bulldogs sits at 10-2 in Division 1, and I am not sure there is a team with a more difficult schedule this season. The Bulldogs are always a threat come playoff time because of their battle-tested scheduling.

7. Plymouth. The Wildcats are sitting at 10-1 in Division 2, but coach Gerry Vento knows there is a lot of hockey to be played. "While we are happy with our record, we still know we are a work in progress,” Vento said. “Our goaltending has been our strength so far, so if we can solidify other areas of our game, we should at least be in a good position once playoffs start." 

8. Livonia Churchill.  The Chargers sit at 8-2, and yet another threat in the very deep Division 2 ranks. Coach Jason Reynolds continues to do a great job, and a top 10 match-up looms on Wednesday with Plymouth paying a visit.  

9. Warren De La Salle. The Pilots sit at 7-2-1 and are fresh off a 4-1 victory over Brother Rice. "We are moving in the right direction, learning that you must play three periods every night with all the talented teams in the MHSAA," coach Craig Staskowski said after the big win.

10. Orchard Lake St Mary’s. The Eaglets are a team that could put up an argument about the state’s toughest schedule. They’re coming off two wins in the Upper Peninsula over Houghton and Hancock this past weekend. 

11. Hancock. The defending Division 3 champs sit at 9-3, with all three losses coming against teams featured in our top ten (Hartland, Brighton, Orchard Lake St Mary’s). Coach Dan Rouleau continues to do a great job with the Bulldogs.

12. Allen Park.  Coach John Brithinee has his Jaguars sitting at 11-1-1 and yet another threat in Division 3.

13. Grosse Pointe South. Coach Robert McKillop has the Blue Devils at 8-2-1 overall, and a big week forthcoming with Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood and Allen Park looming. 

14. Livonia Stevenson. The Spartans could also make a claim for the toughest schedule in the state and bounced back nicely after a losing streak with wins over Plymouth and Salem this week. "We had a very productive break and are starting to get healthy again. This is a young team, and they are starting to realize that with the competitive schedule we play, details matter" coach Dave Mitchell said after the win over Salem.

15. Sault Ste. Marie. The Blue Devils are 9-3 overall and a team to watch in the Upper Peninsula. They will have a say in what is sure to be a memorable Division 3 tournament.

16. Grand Rapids Forest Hills Northern-Eastern. Coach Thomas Bissett has his squad off to a 9-4 start and look to make another run after reaching the Division 2 semifinals last season.

17.  Trenton. The Trojans have really picked it up in the past month and are 4-1-1 in their last six games. They’ve outscored their opponents 33-10 during that span. Trenton is always a threat in Division 2.

18. Saginaw Heritage.  The Hawks are 9-3 but have shown that they can play with any team. They’ve had close losses to Forest Hills Central (4-3) and Powers (4-2).

19. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood. The Cranes’ 7-5 record is not indicative of how solid this squad is and will be in the Division 1 tournament. They are another program that loads up the schedule with as many tough games as possible. It’s safe to say that that ploy has served them well over the years.

20. Calumet. The Copper Kings started the season 0-4 but have gone 6-1-1 since including weekend victories over state ranked Novi and Brighton.

21. Novi. The Wildcats are 8-4-1 and Coach Mark Vellucci had this to say about the start. "(We’ve had) good senior leadership,” he said. “Goalie Manny Legace has been our top player, but contributions are coming from forwards Brandon Kour and Cam Czapski, and on defense from Ryan Fonda and Anthony Luongo. We need to continue to work hard every shift, every game." The Wildcats are another team with a tough schedule moving forward that should prepare them for the Division 2 playoff grind, as they have shown they can play with anybody.

22. East Grand Rapids. The Pioneers are 11-2 and both losses have been by a single goal, 3-2 to Forest Hills Central and 3-2 to Muskegon Reeths-Puffer.

23. Northville. The Mustangs are 6-4 in Division 1 and have played very well as of late, as coach Clint Robert explains. "At the start of the year, we were giving a half measure,” he said. “And we must give a full measure every time we hit the ice. We are committed as a team to no more half measures, and it has helped. We still have work to do, but are pointed in the right direction.”

24. Rochester United. Coach Jason Kowalski is doing a fine job in his first year at the helm, as his squad is off to an 8-4 start. 

25. Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard. The Irish are sitting at 10-2 and coach Rick Huetter’s squad has won their last eight.