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BOYS HOCKEY PREVIEW: Oakland County's dominance to continue

 

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:

3. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s

No team has made it into the Division 1 state championship game more often over the last five seasons than Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. And after a 4-0 loss to Novi in last year’s title game, the Eaglets are eager to get back to Compuware again this season.

Coach Brian Klanow’s team is 3-3 on the young season. But, like the other MIHL teams from Oakland County, the Eaglets have a stacked schedule. St. Mary’s wins have come against the Nos. 1-, 2- and 4-ranked teams in Division 2, while its losses have come to Catholic Central (No. 1 in Division 1) twice and Cranbrook (No. 2 in Division 3).

So far, the team has been led by the balanced scoring of sophomore Cody Milan (7 points), junior Cooper Anstett (6), senior Luke Rogers (5), senior Shane Bednard (5) and sophomore Mitchell Vanderburg (4). Klanow expects that to be the case all season long for his team, which is currently ranked No. 4 in Division 1.

Klanow will be relying on seniors David Muth and Stephan Beauvais to anchor his defensive unit, and for goalie senior Austin Julvezan to keep the puck out of the net. Julvezan has a 3.60 GAA and a .886 save percentage in five games this season.

The team’s schedule slows down a bit over the holiday break, with games against Dearborn Divine Child and U-D Jesuit coming up. But after the break, things are back to normal with a pair of Toronto-based teams (Hill Academy and PEAC) coming to Michigan to face the Eaglets in the Spartan Cup, and the MIHL schedule resuming.

 

For the complete story go to: http://www.miprepzone.com/oakland/results.asp?ID=6070

Oakland Press Hockey Home Page: http://www.miprepzone.com/oakland/sport.asp?sport=Hockey%20-%20Boys