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Plymouth — Thursday night’s Division 2 hockey semifinal had the feel of a state championship game, pitting two heavyweights against each other. In the end, it was Trenton that prevailed over Birmingham Brother Rice at USA Hockey Arena, 3-2.

The game was deadlocked at 2-2 through two periods, but with 11:09 to play in the third and a appearance in the state championship on the line, Justin Litchard’s goal gave Trenton a 3-2 lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

It wasn’t your typical winning goal as it ricocheted off the boards, then off Brother Rice goalie Pierce Cadieux and into the net.

“I was just relieved,” Litchard said. “I saw the puck cross the goal-line and it was just an awesome feeling. We were lucky enough to get that bounce to take the lead.”

Trenton was the aggressor throughout, recording 39 shots on goal to Brother Rice’s 24.

It was that aggressiveness that led to the victory despite Cadieux’s stellar play in goal for Brother Rice. He finished with 36 saves, but it just wasn’t enough.

“(Cadieux) kept them in it,” Trenton coach Chad Clements said. “He kept them in the game. That’s what good goaltenders do.”

Despite trailing for most of the game, Brother Rice’s effort didn’t go unnoticed. It was that same tenacity that got Brother Rice back to the state semifinal after losing more than 10 players from last year’s championship team.

“It was a great hockey game,” Brother Rice coach Kenny Chaput said. “They came out ready to play, we came out ready to play. I was proud of our kids. We got down a goal a couple of times and they stayed with it and bounced back.”

Devin Dunn scored two goals to lead Trenton (20-8-2). Alex Andoni and Dominic DiPonio scored the goals for Brother Rice (16-13-1).

With the win, Trenton halts Brother Rice’s bid for a second straight Division 2 title. It now has an opportunity to win its seventh state title since 2003.

“We’re gonna have our hands full (in the finals), but we’re just going to keep the train rolling,” Clements said. “Our quest continues."

Trenton will face Hartland in the state championship game on Saturday at 10 a.m. at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.

HOCKEY SEMIFINALS

At USA Hockey Arena, Plymouth

Division 2

Thursday

Hartland 9, Ada Forest Hills Northern/Eastern 1

Trenton 3, Birmingham Brother Rice 2

Division 1

Friday

Saginaw Heritage 3, Traverse City West 2, OT

Brighton 2, Detroit Catholic Central 1

Division 3

Friday

Livonia Churchill 3, Riverview Gabriel Richard 1

Detroit Country Day 2, Hancock 1

HOCKEY FINALS

At USA Hockey Arena, Plymouth

Saturday

Division 2, Hartland vs. Trenton, 10 a.m.

Division 3, Livonia Churchill vs. Detroit Country Day, 2 p.m.

Division 1, Saginaw Heritage vs. Brighton, 6 p.m.

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