Plymouth — Detroit Catholic Central completed a three-peat in the MHSAA Division 1 hockey finals on Saturday by beating Brighton 3-0, and did it in convincing fashion.
In a rematch of the 2013 and 2014 Division 1 finals, Catholic Central outplayed Brighton, outshot it 29-15, and got the bounces it needed to win.
“You’re filled with so much pride, the amount of effort the players give, it’s very fulfilling as a coach” said Catholic Central head coach and alum Brandon Kaleniecki, who becomes the third coach in three years to win a state title for the Shamrocks, joining Doug Itami in 2014 and Danny Veri last year.
“It’s certainly a different feeling,” said Kalenicki, who won two titles as a player. “You get to watch them experience those same type of things you did when you were a player.”
The schools have now combined for the last five Division 1 titles. Brighton won it all in 2012 and 2013.
“No better feeling than wining your last game” Catholic Central senior Brian Kearns said.
After a scoreless first period, Catholic Central (24-7) found the back of the net twice and didn’t let off the throttle for the remainder of the game.
The game’s first power play brought two great chances, one for each team.
With Brighton (22-9) a man down, Sheldon Wasik got the puck right in front of the Brighton net and wristed a shot, but Logan Neaton robbed him with his glove with 12 minutes left in the first.
Jake Crespi was then taken down seconds later on a breakaway for Brighton and awarded a penalty shot, but was stopped by Alec Calvaruso.
“I don’t think we ever got totally into our game because Catholic Central didn’t allow us to,” Brighton head coach Paul Moggach said.
Catholic Central outshot Brighton 15-5 in the first period, but neither team could muster a goal.
Catholic Central finally made the breakthrough with just over nine minutes left in the second.
Amidst a scrum right in front of the net, Neaton reached for the puck but missed, allowing Glynn Robitaille to flick home the opening goal.
Nick Macari doubled the lead late in the period on a 2-on-1.
He looked at the man skating with him, but instead chose to take the shot and sniped it past the goalie’s glove with 2:38 left in the period.
“I feel on top of the world right now,” Macari said after his team’s win. “It just got better and better each year.”
The third goal came on a rebound early in the third period.
A shot from inside the zone was stopped by Neaton, but the rebound wasn’t cleared and Cody Borke poked it home for a 3-0 lead with less than two minutes gone.
Any chance at a Brighton comeback was all but put to rest when they were called for a five-minute boarding major with just over seven minutes left.
Blake Meakin is a freelance writer.