Top 25 Hockey Teams – Detroit C.C. tops list, Wyandotte senior top player
Over the past few years, you have probably heard every coach, fan and media member say this: The talent and depth around the State of Michigan keeps growing. While that statement may sound cliché’, the fact of the matter is that it’s very true. You realize that the traditional powers always seem to be in the mix, but in recent years new threats seem to appear, and those threats have shown the ability to remain a threat. Picking a Top 25, regardless of Division, is a tough task these days. That is a great problem to have in a sport many feel is the best sport out there.
1. Detroit Catholic Central. The defending Division 1 champion is loaded with balance and depth once again, and a real threat to repeat. A solid back end is only made better by the firepower up front, led by two of the best players in the state in captain Mitch Ossowski and Ryan Burnett. Interim coach Danny Veri’s job is made much easier with the talent at his disposal.
2. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood. The MIHL claims the top two spots here, as like Catholic Central, Coach Andy Weidenbach has depth and talent at every position. Up front Austin Alger leads the way and is one of the best players in the state three years running. Cooper Stahl just might be the best blue-liner in the state. Two senior goalies in Spencer Applebaum and Austin Movinski have the Cranes as the team to beat in Division 3.
3. Rochester United. State Champs ran a story last season about the Oakland Activities Association climbing the ladder as a football conference and in hockey last season. Coach Craig Staskowski’s program is one leading that resurgence. Rochester United is led by the dynamic duo of forwards Max Harper and Marshall Bowery upfront, arguably the best one-two punch in the state.
4. Utica Eisenhower. Coaches are unanimous in their assessment that the Eagles will at the top of the heap. And already this season Eisenhower has shown signs of being that type of team. The Eagles are paced by an incredibly deep and talented forward corps that can pile on the points. Two key forwards to keep an eye on are Dylan Dempsey and Julian Biondo.
5. Trenton. Former coach Mike Turner was able to ride off into the sunset with a Division 2 title, but it’s not like new coach Chad Clements has an empty cupboard. The Trojans will once again be a force to be reckoned with. Sophomore forward Brandon Morgan is one to keep an eye on.
6. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. The fourth team from the powerful Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League in the top six, and the Eaglets have the potential to move up this list before long. A balanced attack up front, that features player of the year nominee Alex Frye, and steady goaltending from Isaac Garmo make the Eaglets a dangerous team.
7. Northville. The Kensington Lakes Activities Association has really been a force for some time now and coach Clint Robert has the team to beat in the conference. The Mustangs are led up front by Jack Meacham and Alec Morgan, and Goalie Chance Boutin gives them a chance to win on a nightly basis.
8. Birmingham Brother Rice. Another MIHL entry and the Warriors are another team with talent at every position. Joey Vassallo leads the way up front, and Jaret Koger is on any list when talking about the best rearguards in the State.
9. Grand Rapids Catholic Central. It’s no secret that a lot of great teams and players are pouring out of the state’s west side every year, and the Cougars just might be the best of the bunch. With a stingy defense, and a goalie in Tommy Bailey that might be the best goalie in the state, this is going to be a team to challenge Cranbrook Kingswood for the Division 3 title.
10. Livonia Stevenson. Coach David Mitchell and the Spartans lost a lot of talent in the past two years, but they have replenished the talent pool with solid young talent. This Spartan team will likely be a work in progress as opposed to the lightning squads of the past two seasons. With a goaltending duo of Andrew Rozenbaum and Cullen Barber the growing pains shouldn’t be too rough.
11. Wyandotte Roosevelt. Coach Mike Quint has yet another team that should put some goals on the board. A few talented forwards led the way to a title in 2011. This squad has the same potential led by player of the year candidate Alex King and sniper Jason Brancheau.
12. Rockford. The Rams are going to have their work cut out for them in the OK Conference Tier One, but balance up front, and the goaltending of Brendan Coolbaugh should keep them near the top.
13. U-D Jesuit. The Cubs have a shot at being the team to beat in the MIHL South, and forwards Teddy Apap and Sam Knoblauch will lead the way in that effort.
14. Warren De La Salle. Here’s another MIHL South team. It will be interesting to watch the Pilots challenge Trenton and U-D with forwards Greg Aliotta and Jordan Galloway providing a spark up front.
15. Flint Powers. The Chargers are no stranger to success, making quite a few deep runs in its history, and 2014-2015 could be another one of those seasons. Forwards Jeff Polakowski and Mike Forman will be two keys to success.
16. Novi. The Wildcats should score a lot of goals for coach Mark Vellucci. Player of the year candidate Brad Hofelich is a dynamic player to watch.
17. Houghton. The Gremlins are a team that looks to limit the opposition, and boast a fine blue line, and solid goalie in Marcus Gloss.
18. Grandville. The Bulldogs had an inspirational run to the final four in Division 1. That run, and the memory of Ryan Fischer, will not soon be forgotten. The Bulldogs have some firepower with Gianni Vitali and Mitchell Parsons leading the way in that regard.
19. Plymouth. One of a few teams to keep an eye on this season in the KLAA South. Coach Gerry Vento has a club that will be the team to beat in this division.
20. Dearborn Divine Child. Coach Brandon Kaleniecki has a Falcon squad that should be an up-tempo, high-scoring team. Gianpaolo Berlasi could put up some gaudy numbers when all is said and done.
21. Salem. The Rocks might have something to say about just who is the team to beat in the KLAA South. Coach Ryan Ossenmacher has some punch up front with Evan Newel and Noah Wller leading the way.
22. Port Huron Northern. The Huskies complete the MIHL North teams ranked here, and like the teams ranked above them, the toughness of the North will make them battle tested and ready come playoff time.
23. Walled Lake Western. Coach Tommy Mannino is building something special and his Warriors might lead the way in the tough KLAA West Division. Keep an eye on the exciting Chris Donaldson upfront.
24. Hartland. This another strong team from the KLAA West. The Eagles are not going to give up the bragging rights without a fight, and are looking to take the next step after back-to-back appearances in the Division 2 final. Coach Rick Gadwa is a well-respected coach and will have his team ready to make another run.
25. Brighton. A team doesn’t win back-to-back titles (2012-13) and make it back to the finals last season without a good talent base and solid coaching. Coach Paul Moggach has shown what it takes to win and isn’t afraid to schedule anybody, anywhere, in an effort to get there.
Top 20 players
1. Alex King, Senior Forward, Wyandotte
2. Austin Alger, Senior Forward, Cranbrook Kingswood
3. Max Harper, Senior Forward, Rochester United
4. Marshall Bowery, Senior Forward, Rochester United
5. Ryan Burnett, Senior Forward, Detroit Catholic Central
6. Mitch Ossowski, Senior Forward, Detroit Catholic Central
7. Matt Manning, Senior Forward, Brother Rice
8. Brad Hofelich, Senior Forward, Novi
9. Brandon Morgan, Sophomore Forward, Trenton
10. Alex Frye, Junior Forward, O.L. St. Mary’s
11. Jack Meacham, Senior Forward, Northville
12. Alec Morgan, Senior Forward, Northville
13. Chris Donaldson, Senior Forward, Walled Lake Western
14. Dylan Dempsey, Senior Forward, Utica Eisenhower
15. Levi Wunder, Senior Forward, Escanaba
16. Cooper Stahl, Senior Defenseman, Cranbrook Kingswood
17. Jaret Koger, Junior Defenseman, Brother Rice
18. John Nagel, Senior Defenseman, Hartland
19. Tommy Bailey, Senior Goaltender, Grand Rapid Catholic Central
20. Dominic Stankiewicz, Senior Goaltender, Divine Child