While Cranbrook forwards and defense stole the show, Applebaum played key role in net in Cranes title runHockey  |
Plymouth – Spencer Applebaum’s time on ice at Compuware Arena during this weekend’s Division 3 semifinal and championship game were rather uneventful.
The Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood senior netminder faced just 15 shots in two games, 13 of which came in the championship game against Houghton.
However, that doesn’t accurately describe the type of impact Applebaum made in Cranbrook’s run to a 17th State Championship.
One might assume that facing so few shots may cause any goalie to lose their focus, but Applebaum said his coaching stay in his ear to keep focused and added that he could have been a little more focused in Cranbrook’s quarterfinal win over Wyandotte Roosevelt.
“Coach tells me after every intermission, you have to stay focused, because there are spans where you’re not getting a lot of shots,” he said. “We saw in the quarterfinal that I wasn’t as focused as I should have been, so I had to rebound the last couple of games to stay focused no matter what’s going on in the game.”
The closest any team came to putting a shot past Applebaum in the final two games of the season was a shot from Houghton’s Reid Pietila that snuck through and came within inches of going in before he managed to smother it, keeping the shutout intact during the third period.
Applebaum was no stranger to the state finals, considering the goaltender had helped lead the Cranes to their Division 3 state championship win back in 2013.
Cranbrook coach Andy Weidenbach said that Applebaum has been a key player for his team for the past three years, citing his unblemished record in league play and that he was one of the core players Cranbrook relied on this season.
“He’s been our number one guy and he’s been on our team for three years and he’s never lost an MIHL game,” he said. “He’s been one of the guys that’s been the backbone of our team and he’s done a terrific job and he comes up with big saves when he needs to.”
Applebaum helped lead the Cranes to a 24-2-4 record on the year.
After facing just two shots in the semifinal win over Riverview, followed by 13 against Houghton in the Division 3 final, while watching his teammates pepper opposing goalies with over 100 shots in those two games.
Applebaum credited his team in front of him and said that he obviously enjoyed playing with the stifling Cranbrook defense in front of him.
“It’s huge,” he said. “The whole team bought into what coach was telling us this year and it’s great for me to be able to come out and play with the defense playing that well.
Weidenbach echoed his goalie’s sentiments and said his entire team bought in to what he and his coaches were teaching all season long and it showed with the Cranes winning their 17th state title.
“It’s something we obviously work on in practice, we work a lot on team defense,” he said. “The good thing that I think we’ve accomplished is the guys buying in, they believe in what we’re doing and they subscribe to it and that shows on the ice.”
After the all of the state championship games wrapped up at Compuware Arena on Saturday, Applebaum was named to the Division 3 All-State First Team.