For the first time ever, Kalamazoo United has secured the regular season championship in the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL). United took the crown Saturday night with a 6-1 victory over the Blades of Southwest Michigan. Based on their previous meeting’s overtime result (5-4 for United) and the first period, it appeared initially to be a very competitive match. Both goalies had a strong first period with neither breaking until 2.4 seconds remained. Quentin Cerutti scored, thanks to a great spin-o-rama assist from Noel Cavey, to give United the lead and momentum entering the first intermission.
Cavey scored 68 seconds into the second period to add to the lead and about four minutes later, Cerutti scored his second goal on a four-on-four to make the game 3-0. The Blades had a golden opportunity midway through the period thanks to a major and minor United penalty, but all seven minutes, including a section of 5-on-3, was killed off. United added two more goals late in the second, coming from Jacob Remelius and Cavey. Noel then made it a hat-trick in the third period with the Blades getting the game’s final goal from Mason Fitch.
Cerutti finished with five points (two goals, three assists). Cavey added an assist with his three goals. Remelius had two assists with his goal. The overall records go to 18-1-1 for United and 16-8-1 for the Blades.
As for the league standings, United moves to 8-1 and is guaranteed first, regardless of their game next Saturday with Mattawan. At 6-2-1, the Wildcats are secured as second place in the standings. The Blades are in fourth at 4-5, behind Portage Central at 5-4. These two meet Wednesday with the winner taking third, as the Blades won their earlier meeting and would take the tiebreaker if they were to win again Wednesday. The top four are locked in for the league tournament semifinals on February 15.
The bottom two spots are also determined, with the Kalamazoo Eagles fifth (2-6-1) and Portage Northern last (1-8). Both of those teams also played Saturday and fell in non-conference play. The Huskies dropped a 5-4 overtime bout to Lowell/Caledonia, with the Eagles losing 8-0 to Marysville. The Eagles and Huskies play their final regular season league game against each other Wednesday.
Listen back to Saturday’s contest between United and the Blades below: