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Brighton starts fast, knocks off Detroit Catholic Central for first title since 2013

Hockey   | Ben Szilagy

Brighton starts fast, knocks off Detroit Catholic Central for first title since 2013

Plymouth — Brighton stunned the three-time defending Division One state champions with a 5-2 win over Detroit Catholic Central on Saturday night at USA Hockey Arena.

The win gives the Bulldogs its fourth title in program history, and fourth under legendary coach Paul Moggach.

“I’m honestly just along for the ride. The players win the games and put in the tremendously hard work, and sacrifice a lot to get here and win a title,” a humble Moggach said.

“They put the time in and do what other teams won’t. That’s why we have a good program. These guys love each other, and play for each other. That’s what it takes to win a state championship.”

The Bulldogs’ (24-6-1) speed and ability to create turnovers left those in attendance silent as Brighton jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period with goals coming a minute a half a part.

Senior Keith Wikman put Brighton up 1:52 into the first period after he received a crossing pass from senior Joey Martini. Wikman ripped a shot from the left circle for a 1-0 goal.

Soon after, Adam Conquest intercepted the puck in the neutral zone and raced it to the Shamrock zone and fired a shot. As the puck caromed to the left, senior Spencer Gehres quickly followed the play and put in the rebound for a 2-0 lead.

“It felt great, hearing nothing but our fans. Everyone on the bench went nuts and we were just excited to get that lead early on,” Brighton forward Jake Crespi said.

“Nobody was expecting it,” Conquest added. “We wanted to steal that momentum.”

Catholic Central (22-8-1) couldn’t muster any offense until there was seven minutes left in the first period when CC registered its first shot on goal.

“If we could take back those first few minutes of the game, it was a whole different hockey game,” Catholic Central coach Brandon Kaleniecki said.

“But they jumped us good, and got the lead.”

At the start of the second period, the Shamrocks started with a power play, but it didn’t go according to plan. Conquest (goal, two assists) received a quick pass from junior Brody White and put away a short-handed goal for a 3-0 lead 43-seconds in.

“When I’m in the neutral zone, I’m always looking to pick off a pass and go. I’m determined to play my position, swoop low and force the defense to make bad plays,” Conquest said.

The Shamrocks wouldn’t be held off the scoreboard taking advantage of another power play when senior Brendan West scored a wrap around goal that cut into the lead 3-1 with 10:59 left in the second period.

The ice began to tilt back in Cat