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Prep Hockey Tournament Preview: Balance in all divisions provides drama

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Prep Hockey Tournament Preview: Balance in all divisions provides drama

By Sean Baligian

It’s time for another Michigan High School Athletic Association Ice Hockey tournament, and in my years of covering the tournament, I can truly say that I have never seen a more wide open field across the board in all three divisions.

Last year we picked the three eventual champions correctly but it will not be easy this year. There is not a bonafide favorite in any of the divisions. It’s great for the game and it’s great for this tournament.

 

Division 1

Region 2 winner Grandville over Region 1 winner Rockford.

Region 4 winner Orchard Lake St. Mary's over Region 3 winner East Kentwood.

Region 6 winner Detroit Catholic Central over Region 5 winner Bay City Central.

Region 8 winner U-D Jesuit over Region 7 winner Utica Eisenhower.

 

Region 6 is loaded, and a first game match between Catholic Central and Northville is a shame to see so early in the tournament, as both clubs are capable of winning the whole thing. Rochester United has been playing better as of late as well.

 

Final Four

Orchard Lake St. Mary's over Grandville.

U-D Jesuit over Catholic Central.

Three MIHL teams make their way to USA Hockey Arena, along with West Michigan powerhouse, Grandville, and I am calling for an all MIHL Final, with U-D knocking off Orchard Lake St. Mary's in the end.

 

Division 2

Region 9 winner Marquette over Region 10 winner Traverse City Central.

Region 13 winner Romeo over Region 14 winner Macomb L'Anse Cruse North.

Region 15 winner Livonia Stevenson over Region 16 winner Trenton.

Region 11 winner Hartland over Region 12 winner Birmingham Brother Rice.

 

Last year, Hartland and Brother Rice played what may have been the game of the tournament, I think Hartland exacts revenge this time around.

 

Final Four 

Hartland over Livonia Stevenson

Romeo over Marquette.

Hartland avenges a loss to Stevenson in the 2013 State Finals, and we are treated to an epic final game between Hartland and Romeo, with the Eagles winning an instant classic.

 

Division 3

Region 17 winner Hancock over Region 18 winner Sault St. Marie.

Region 17 might just be the "Region of Doom" in the entire tournament. It’s a shame that Hancock, Calumet and Houghton are in the same region. Any of the three are capable of winning the title. There are many solid hockey teams across the Upper Peninsula this season.

Region 21 winner Wyandotte Roosevelt over Region 22 winner Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood.

Region 20 winner Saginaw Heritage over Region 19 winner Grand Rapids Catholic Central.

Like Division 1, two of the best in Division 3 are forced to play in the first round when Saginaw Heritage and Flint Powers Catholic face off in Region 20.

Region 24 winner Chelsea over Region 23 winner Riverview.

 

Final Four

Hancock over Wyandotte Roosevelt

Saginaw Heritage over Chelsea.

Heritage knocked off Hancock 4-3 in great game at the Showcase in Trenton a month ago, but I am calling for a one-goal win, and the championship for Hancock at USA Hockey Arena.

A couple of guys on staff do a heck of a job covering Prep Hockey all year long, so I wanted to make sure to get their thoughts as a "Staff Picks" edition.

 

Jon Kidd

Division 1: Catholic Central over U-D; Brighton over Grandville

Catholic Central Champions.

Division 2: Hartland over Stevenson; Romeo over Marquette

Hartland Champions.

Division 3: Hancock over Cranbrook; Heritage over Chelsea

Heritage Champions.

 

Ben Szilagy

Division 1: Catholic Central over U-D; Brighton over Grandville

Catholic Central Champions.

Division 2: Stevenson over Hartland; Romeo over Marquette

Stevenson Champions.

Division 3: Houghton over Wyandotte; Heritage over Chelsea;

Heritage Champions.

 

Division 1: Catholic Central, Ben and Jon. U of D Jesuit, Sean.

Division 2: Hartland, Jon and Sean. Stevenson, Ben.

Division 3: Heritage, Ben and Jon. Hancock, Sean

 

So there you have it, in a year where anything can happen, this is the way we see it playing out. Get out there and support what is becoming a better product by the year, and we hope to see you at the rink!