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Stevenson wins Livonia city title in a big way, 9-1 over Franklin

By: Ben Szilagy, January 29, 2016, 9:33 pm



Livonia — Livonia Stevenson’s offense has been so hot that even a week off couldn’t slow it down.

Stevenson’s winning streak stands at seven after a 9-1 victory over Livonia Franklin on its way to another city championship on Friday night.

“You don’t expect your offense to play this well especially like a team like Franklin,” Stevenson coach David Mitchell said. “What Dennis (Gagnon) has done with that team is outstanding. Tonight was a night we got the bounces and got the offense going.”

Stevenson (13-3-1) was sparked early by its top line, which helped the Spartans jump out to a 3-1 lead. Assistant captain Shane Leonard got the offense going 25 seconds into the game when he set up Joe Alcantara on a transition breakaway.

Alcantara walked the puck into the Patriot zone and fired a shot low stick side for a 1-0 lead. The two connected again on the power play on a one-timer from Leonard to Alcantara with 6:33 left in the period for a 2-0 lead.

“We moved the puck well tonight, and made sure we could take a lot of shots. Our line was in sync,” Alcantara said. “Me and Shane played a lot in growing up. We always seem to find each other, and I just try to hit the puck as best as I can when he does.”

Franklin (11-6) received its lone goal on the power play when senior Brendan Whitney buried a rebound in front of the net. The Patriots power play unit gave the puck back on a short-handed goal by captain Ben Kowalske just before the end of the first period for a 3-1 lead.

Mitchell said that Leonard, Alcantara and Kowalske all wanted to play on the same line for a long time. It wasn’t before Christmas break, however, until Mitchell gave in to their request.

“There isn’t a day that goes by where they don’t remind me that I should have done it a long time ago,” Mitchell said with a chuckle. “They work well together, and practice hard together. It’s helped us achieve some balance on the other lines as well.”

Alcantara earned his team-high 16th goal when he lifted the puck on high on the stick side that floated over the goal line for the senior’s second hat-trick of the season midway through the second period for a 4-1 lead.

The Spartan attack didn’t give up as Patriot goaltender Jake Penny was pulled from the game, and senior Brian Hubbard replaced him.

Senior Alex Siroky recorded a two-goal period that quickly grew the Stevenson lead to 6-1. The first goal was scored on the short side with 8:06 left in the period, and the forward’s second goal (on the power play) came with 51 seconds left in the period.

Fellow senior Alex Oquist’s goal increased the lead to 7-1 seconds before the end of the second period keeping Stevenson just two goals away from the mercy rule.

While the first period was sparked by Leonard’s passes to Alcantara, it was reversed to start the third period.

Leonard capped his night with a power play goal of his own when Alcantara zipped a pass to the forward for a 8-1 lead three minutes into the third period. Senior forward Nick Beers ended the game, 9-1, on a shot through the short side of the slot with 3:51 left on the clock.

Despite the lopsided affair, Livonia has all three teams ranked in the State Champs! Top 25 rankings. Mitchell said that it only goes to show how good Livonia hockey is.

“The job Jason (Reynolds), and Dennis has done is incredible. We all like nothing better than when all three schools are competitive. A couple nights of the year, we need to play each other, but we root for them any other night,” he said.

“This community can enjoy three high quality clubs that represent the city of Livonia well.”