Cranes in the News
BOYS HOCKEY PREVIEW: Oakland County's dominance to continue
Catholic Central will be hard to stop
By JASON SCHMITT
Of The Oakland Press
Never short on talent, Oakland County should once again be the class of hockey in Michigan for the 2011-12 season. If past championships — the county has won 15 of the 30 MHSAA state championships over the past decade — doesn’t say enough, then the fact that seven county teams were ranked in the first state rankings of the 2011-12 season should speak volumes on the level of hockey in Oakland County.
Novi Detroit Catholic Central is ranked No. 1 in Division 1, and is quite possibly the best team in the entire state. Birmingham Brother Rice holds down the top spot in Division 2, and Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood is No. 2 in Division 3.
Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, always a threat to win a state championship, is also ranked in Division 1, as is Novi. Oxford and Walled Lake Northern earned Top-10 rankings in Division 2.
Yep, the stage is set for Oakland County teams to once again dominate the hockey landscape come March. But first, here’s an early-season preview of sorts, a look at the Top-10 teams the county has to offer:
2. Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood
Defense was a concern heading into the season for coach Andy Weidenbach’s squad. The Cranes had just one returning defenseman from last year, junior Jeff Martin.
So to help shore up the position, seniors Cameron Heath and Ethan Weiss were moved back to the blue line. So far, the move has paid off, as Cranbrook has jumped out to a 6-1-1 record this season, 5-0 in the MIHL.
On offense, junior Alex Alger (11 points), sophomore Christopher Brown (10) and Jeremy Loewenstein (7) have formed a potent line, as have Blake Manginell, Kevin Shand and Billy Young.
Heath and Weiss haven’t forgotten how to score, either, combining for 14 points through the team’s first eight games.
Austin Alger and Sam Miletic (10 points each) have also provided the Cranes, who are averaging four goals a game, with some much-needed offense.
Cranbrook is deep at the goalie position this year, with seniors Aaron Alkema and Justin Kirk sharing time. With Kirk battling an early-season injury, the team has relied heavily on Alkema, who has a 4-1 record and a 2.78 goals against average in six games.
“As a staff, I think we’re excited. The players are enthusiastic, have a good work ethic and appear to be coachable,” Weidenbach said. “As a coach, you can’t expect much more than that.”
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