Novi skates past Saline behind Hofelich's hat-trick to earn first regional title since 2011Hockey  |
Novi – A season ago, Novi left its regional final appearance with a bitter taste in its mouth as the Wildcats surrendered a late lead and fell at the hands of eventual Division 2 state finalist Hartland in double overtime.
Fast forward one year later and the Wildcats walked out of the regional final with a much better feeling than the one they had the year before.
Novi jumped out to a 2-0 second period lead over Saline and earned a 4-2 win behind a hat-trick from Hockey Player of the Year Candidate Brad Hofelich, notching the school’s first regional title since 2011, the same year the Wildcats went on to win the Division 2 state championship.
Novi coach Mark Vellucci said that there wasn’t much of a message to his team concerning last year’s loss, but added that he felt his team played some its best, most focused hockey on Saturday afternoon.
“I don’t think it was a big message, the guys knew it was a heartbreaker last year and they’ve had a goal all summer, fall and winter of getting past the regional final and getting past the quarterfinal,” he said. “It was the most focused I’ve seen them play since the second Northville game this season. It’s just a testament to the kids, we can get them as ready as possible, but they were focused, they blocked shots and they did everything we have asked them all season and you saw the result.”
Novi (16-9-2) now advances to the Division 2 quarterfinals where the Wildcats will face the winner of the Livonia Stevenson-Trenton regional final on Tuesday, March 10th at 6:30 at Yost Ice Arena.
With Novi holding a 2-0 lead late in the second period, Saline (23-5) finally found the back of the net when defenseman Ryan