State Champs: Brother Rice Wins Division 2 Hockey Title
The Warriors beat Grosse Pointe South 4-1 on Saturday morning at Compuware Arena to win their first title since 2005.
PLYMOUTH – Second place wasn’t going to be good enough for the Brother Rice hockey team this year.
The Warriors had too much momentum, too much talent and on Saturday morning in the Division 2 state finals at Compuware Arena had too many scoring opportunities against Grosse Pointe South..
Brother Rice (25-4-1) cruised to a 4-1 win over the Blue Devils for its first title since 2005.
“Incredible,” Brother Rice coach Lou Schmidt Jr. said of his team’s playoff run. “They set the goal last year for March 10. We knew they were going to battle us, so we were prepared and our guys battled back.”
Facing a team that hadn’t lost a game in nearly three months, Grosse Pointe South (22-6-1) did what it could. It scored a power-play goal at the end of the first period to go into intermission tied 1-1.
“We didn’t feel all that good about it (being tied),” Blue Devils coach James Bufalino said. “We didn’t outplay them for any five minute stretch.”
In the second, the Warriors planted themselves in the Grosse Pointe South’s zone and wouldn’t leave.
Brother Rice controlled the puck for almost the entire period, putting Blue Devils goalie Christopher Schebil on the hot seat.
“It was tough,” Schebil said. “I tried to keep my team in the game. It’s hard when shots are coming from everywhere.”
Bobby Cross put the Warriors back in the lead with a picture-perfect pass to Russell Cicerone.
With Cicerone to his left, Cross charged up the ice, leading a two-on-one breakaway. As Cross neared the crease, he passed the puck back across his body when Schebil cheated to his glove side.
Cicerone knocked the puck in (7:08) to give his team a 2-1 advantage.
The Warriors scored again before the teams went into intermission.
During a power-play, Andrew Roye missed the net with a slapshot from the blueline. His shot bounced off the backboards right to Mackenzie MacEachern. MacEachern cleaned up the rebound with a backhanded shot fading away from the net (12:17).
Grosse Pointe South only managed two shots in the second period.
The Blue Devils’ best scoring chances came in the third period, but Brother Rice goalie Jack Bowman shut them down.
“He hasn’t seen a whole lot of shots,” Schmidt said. “I’m extremely proud of the fact that he played as well as he did today. Last two games, he saw six shots and eight in the other. It’s hard to stay focused between the pipes, but he stepped up and made those saves at the end.”
Bufalino found out what most teams facing the Warriors this already knew – they don’t have any weaknesses. In six playoff games, Brother Rice outscored its opponents 36-5.
“They were strong everywhere on the ice,” Bufalino said. “We lost to a wonderful team and a storied program.”
Brother Rice beat Forest Hills Eastern 5-0 on Thursday to reach the finals.
The Grosse Pointe South Blue Devils finished with a record of 22-6-1. They advanced to the title game with a victory over Port Huron Northern on Thursday.
Notes - Cicerone added a second goal with 15.3 seconds left in the game on an empty-net. Brother Rice first goal came less than two minutes into the game, forward Eric Dibble scored from T.J. Petzold. Warriors freshman Conner Jean picked up two of his team’s three penalties. His slashing penalty in the first period, set up Grosse Pointe South’s lone goal, Jake Corden scored (14:34) to tie it up 1-1 from his twin brother Maxwell Corden.