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Top 25 Michigan hockey rankings for Jan. 27, 2020: Okemos, South Lyon, Riverview make top 25 debuts, while Stevenson takes over No. 1 spot

By: SEAN BALIGIAN, January 26, 2020, 11:44 pm

Unbeaten against competition in the state of Michigan, and boasting victories over fellow top 25 members Hartland (2), Detroit U-D Jesuit, Traverse City Central, Brighton, Trenton and Country Day — and a tie with former No. 1 Birmingham Brother Rice — on their resume, the Spartans of Livonia Stevenson slide up one slot to the No. 1 ranking in this edition of the STATE CHAMPS! Top 25 hockey rankings. 

South Lyon Unified, Riverview and Okemos all debut in this rankings update, while Riverview Gabriel Richard and Macomb Dakota return to the top 25.

With the massive, 42-game MIHL Prep Hockey Showcase coming up before our next rankings come out, there could be plenty of changes on the way next time, too.

Here are Sean Baligian’s top 25 teams in Michigan for the week of Jan. 27, 2020: 

1 LIVONIA STEVENSON (14-1-1) — The Spartans are unbeaten in-state at 14-0-1 to secure the top spot for now. They will be tested in the next couple of weeks with games against Salem, Howell, No. 2 Calumet and No. 8 Saginaw Heritage. (Last ranking: 2)

2 CALUMET (14-1-1) —  The Copper Kings made a big statement with a 5-3 win over then No. 1 Brother Rice on Jan. 18.  Two of the marquee games at the Trenton Showcase will feature Calumet taking on No. 1 Livonia Stevenson and No. 7 Trenton. (Last ranking: 8)

3 BIRMINGHAM BROTHER RICE (12-2-1) — The Warriors bounced back nicely from the loss at Calumet with wins over Novi Detroit Catholic Central and Trenton, and still may be the team to beat in Division 2. (Last ranking: 1)

4 GROSSE POINTE SOUTH (14-2-0) — The Blue Devils keep winning, and are being led by Keegan Spitz, who has 19 goals and 36 points in 16 games. (Last ranking: 6)

5 NOVI DETROIT CATHOLIC CENTRAL (11-5-0) — The Shamrocks bounced back from a loss at then No. 1 Birmingham Brother Rice with two convincing wins over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and then No. 14 Detroit U-D Jesuit, and remain the team to beat in Division 1. (Last ranking: 3)

6 DETROIT COUNTRY DAY (12-2-0) — The back-to-back Division 3 champs continue to win, as they have improved to 12-2 in-state, and have not lost since a 4-1 setback to No. 1 Livonia Stevenson on December 6th. Head coach Frank Novock continues to be one of the best in the state. (Last ranking: 7)

7 TRENTON (12-3-1) — The Trojans are one of the real threats in Division 2 come playoff time. The next two games are huge as they host No. 5 Novi Detroit Catholic Central, and No. 2 Calumet. (Last ranking: 4)

8 SAGINAW HERITAGE (14-1-0) — The Hawks are having another great season at 13-1 in-state, and play two of the “must-see” games at the Trenton Showcase when they face No. 3 Birmingham Brother Rice and No. 1 Livonia Stevenson. Keep an eye out for Brady Rappuhn, who has 27 goals and 51 points in 15 games. (Last ranking: 9)

9 TRAVERSE CITY CENTRAL (14-2-2) — The Trojans are 14-1-2 in-state, but they will be tested the next two weeks with games against Traverse City West, Gaylord, and a trip to Trenton where they will face Orchard Lake St. Mary’s and Grand Rapids Forest Hills N/E. (Last ranking: 10)

10 HARTLAND (11-3-1) — The back-to-back Division 2 champs still must be accounted for, but the Eagles have a buzzsaw schedule in the next couple weeks with No. 12 Salem, No. 16 Brighton, Plymouth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood and No. 5 Novi Detroit Catholic Central on the slate. (Last ranking: 5)

11 MARQUETTE (15-3-0) — The Redmen skate their way up to the 11 spot and will be a featured team at the Public School Showcase in Chelsea, where they will face Lake Orion, No. 15 Macomb Dakota and Holland West Ottawa. (Last ranking: 18)

12 SALEM (11-4-0) — The Rocks are 11-4 in-state, and have a monster schedule in the next two weeks as they face No. 10 Hartland, No. 1 Livonia Stevenson, and No. 4 Grosse Pointe South. (Last ranking: 11)

13 HOUGHTON (12-7) — The Gremlins remain a force in Division 3, and tough for anybody to play against. They have two intriguing matchups at the Trenton showcase as they face No. 24 Riverview Gabriel Richard and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood. (Last ranking: 15)

14 GRAND RAPIDS FOREST HILLS CENTRAL (13-4) — The Rangers are yet another team to look out for in Division 3, and they have been red hot, winning 12 of their last 13. Mason Kelly and Cole Beaufait are two of the best on the west side. (Last ranking: 16)

15 DETROIT U-D JESUIT (8-9) — The sixth team from Division 3 in our top 15, the Cubbies have shown that they can play with anybody. With the schedule that they play, inside and out of the MIHL, they are going to be a tough out come playoff time. (Last ranking: 14)

16 BRIGHTON (10-5-1) — The Bulldogs have won six of seven, and still boast a couple of legends behind the bench in head coach Paul Moggach and assistant Kurt Kivisto, who have been there and done that come playoff time. (Last ranking: 13)

17 MIDLAND DOW (15-2) — The Chargers are riding a 6 game winning streak, but the next two weeks will be an immense test as they face Midland, Flint Powers, No. 15 Detroit U-D Jesuit and No. 6 Detroit Country Day. (Last ranking: 19)

18 ANN ARBOR PIONEER (15-2) — The Pioneers have improved to 15-2 on the season, as they ride an 11 game win streak. Many coaches informed us to keep an eye out for Pioneer before the season started, I think we can all see that they were right. (Last ranking: 20)

19 BAY REPS (10-4-1) — An 8-2 mark in their last 10 keeps the Reps in our top 20, and they have a dangerous goalie in junior Judd Lawson. (Last ranking: 17)

20 ANN ARBOR SKYLINE (11-2) — The Eagles continue to impress, but will be very busy the next couple of weeks with six games coming up in that tight window. (Last ranking: 23)

21 SOUTH LYON UNIFIED (14-2) — A great story out of the Lakes Valley Conference, SLU has won 10 in a row to improve to 14-2 on the season. Head coach Bill McCreary and his staff have done a tremendous job building it to this point. (Last ranking: N/R)

22 RIVERVIEW (13-4) — The Pirates make their debut on the list, as they have won 11 of 13, and keeping pace with Pioneer in the improving Metro League West Division. (Last ranking: N/R)

23 OKEMOS (17-1) — The Chiefs make their debut in our rankings as they are a perfect 13-0 in the SCHL Central division, and an impressive 17-1 overall. Junior forward Cooper Derath is leading the way with 22 goals and 44 points in 18 games. (Last ranking: N/R)

24 RIVERVIEW GABRIEL RICHARD (10-6) — The Pioneers jump back into our top 25 for the second time, and they’re a threat to make another long run in Division 3. Head coach Rick Desana and his staff continue to put a hard-working squad on the ice. (Last ranking: N/R)

25 MACOMB DAKOTA (12-5) — The Cougars jump back into our top 25 as well, as they have won three out four, and have 12 wins on the season. Two interesting matchups out in Chelsea for the Public Showcase, as they have a rematch with No. 11 Marquette, and a tilt with Gaylord. (Last ranking: N/R)

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DROPPED OUT: No. 12 Grand Rapids Forest Hills N/E; No. 21 Holland West Ottawa; No. 22 Grand Rapids Catholic Central; No. 24 Plymouth; No. 25 Grandville.

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