After going to overtime in both of their regular season meetings, Kalamazoo United and Mattawan will meet Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network for the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) tournament championship at Wings West.
United claimed the regular season title this season for the first time in program history off a 9-1 league record. Sitting at 20-1-1 overall, they will try to add their first ever tournament title to their accomplishments.
For Mattawan, they are the defending tournament champion having beaten Portage Central 4-3 for last year’s crown. The Wildcats have taken the tournament title in three of the previous four seasons. They took second in the standings this season at 6-3-1 and hold an overall mark of 11-10-2.
These teams met one week ago with United taking a 3-2 overtime win. United started ahead 2-0, but Mattawan tied the game in the second period. It remained deadlocked until Noel Cavey ended it on a powerplay goal in OT. Their first meeting of the season on November 23 had a similar result, ending 5-4 in OT in favor of United. United held a 4-1 lead entering the third period, but Mattawan tied it by the end of the third. Like the second game, it was Cavey with the overtime winner.
Listen live Friday on the Slocum Sports Network to ACHA hockey between the Western Michigan University Stallions and the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies. It’s the final regular season series for both teams, with Friday’s game at Wings West in Kalamazoo at 6:30 p.m., followed by Saturday’s game at the Onyx in Rochester at 8:30 p.m.
The Stallions enter at 16-14-1-1 overall on the season and sit seventh in the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL) standings with 15 points at 4-8-1-0. Western Michigan needs only two points against Oakland to leap ahead of Kent State for sixth and could possibly finish even with Rochester College for fifth (Rochester has games against Michigan-Dearborn, they enter the weekend six ahead of WMU). Last weekend, the Stallions lost 6-1 at Adrian, then picked up 6-3 and 7-3 home wins over Eastern Michigan.
Oakland sits at 5-21-2-1 overall and 1-10-2-0 in league play with seven points, sitting in eighth. They could finish eighth or ninth, depending on how they and Eastern Michigan play this weekend. Regardless, they will meet the Eagles in the #8 vs #9 game in next week’s league tournament. The Golden Grizzlies have lost eight consecutive games, but did take a top-five nationally ranked Davenport squad to overtime two weeks ago.
This is the first time these teams have met this season. In their home-and-home last season, the Stallions earned two wins; 3-1 on the road and 6-3 at home. Two seasons ago, they met four times with Oakland taking three of four.
The Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) tournament final is set for Saturday at 6:30 p.m., following Wednesday’s semifinal games at Wings West. In the first game, top-seed Kalamazoo United flattened fourth-seeded Portage Central 8-0, followed by a 5-0 win for second-seed Mattawan over the third-seeded Blades of Southwest Michigan.
The first game remained scoreless until four minutes remained in the first period, as Noel Cavey scored for United on an assist from Hunter Taplin. About two minutes later, they did it again, this time on a powerplay, for a 2-0 lead at the first break. Cavey then tallied his third and fourth goals of the game in the second period, followed by scores from Garrett Warner, Topher Strunk, and Tony Schirripa (his first ever varsity goal) for a 7-0 score after two.
It took 11 seconds for United to get the mercy rule win, as Cavey scored his fifth goal of the game and 35th of the season. Taplin finished with five assists, getting his team to 20-1-1 overall. United gets their third win over the Mustangs this season, their second straight 8-0 win, and avenges a tournament semifinal loss from last season. Portage Central drops to 8-15-1 overall.
In the second game, Mattawan jumped out to a 3-0 lead by the first break. Ben Berkowitz scored first with 13:39 remaining, followed by a Jeff Kirkendall score with 8:42 remaining and a Nate Roberts goal with 1:11 to go. The Blades had a golden opportunity on a 5-on-3 powerplay early in the second, but could do nothing with it. Shortly after, the Wildcats put in a powerplay goal from Brady Lawrence for a 4-0 lead entering the second break. The final dagger was a shorthanded Jake Kruzich goal in the third for the Wildcats, putting them at 11-10-2 on the year and dropping the Blades to 20-9-2. It continues a winning streak dating back to at least 2012 for Mattawan against the Blades.
Mattawan advances to the tournament final for the fourth time in the past five years, with the Wildcats winning the title each time they made it. They took last season’s title 4-3 against Portage Central. Kalamazoo United beat the Wildcats in both regular season meetings with both games ending up in overtime, 3-2 last Saturday and 5-4 on November 23. Listen to Saturday’s championship game set for 6:30 pm. Saturday on the Slocum Sports Network.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s losers will play in consolation games Saturday. At 2 p.m., Portage Central faces Portage Northern. At 4:15 p.m., the Blades will meet the Kalamazoo Eagles.
Listen back to the semifinals below:
KALAMAZOO UNITED VS PORTAGE CENTRAL
MATTAWAN VS SWM BLADES
The Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants topped the Battle Creek Central Bearcats in both boys and girls basketball Tuesday night, winning on their home floor 57-48 in boys play and 76-22 in girls play. The boys contest stayed tight throughout with the Bearcats holding an 8-6 advantage after the first quarter. K-Central started the second quarter on an 8-0 run, but a 13-3 finish from BCC put the Bearcats back up at the half, 21-17.
The third quarter saw five lead changes with the Maroon Giants leading after the third quarter, 40-34. Neither team led by more than six until the fourth quarter, where K-Central finally started to pull away, in part due to free throw success. They went 25-34 at the stripe, while the Bearcats were only 5-10. The game did end with some jawing and bad blood and although a number of students ran onto the court after the game, no punches appeared to be thrown.
Isaiah Livers led K-Central with 21 points. The future Michigan Wolvervine was also 9-13 at the free throw line, including a 6-6 run at the end. Joshua Mann topped BCC with 14 points. The win puts K-Central at 14-1 overall and at 8-0 in the SMAC East Division, securing the division title. Next up for them is Gull Lake at home Friday. The Bearcats drop to 13-3 overall and host Mattawan Friday.
Meanwhile, as expected by the records, the girls game was never in doubt, with a 76-22 final in favor of Kalamazoo Central. They improve to 12-3 with the Bearcats dropping to 2-15. BCC actually had the top scoring player in Tamera Gills, who scored 13 points. 12 players had a bucket K-Central, led by 11 from Anasia Harris.
Listen back to both contests below:
Listen live Wednesday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to the semifinals of the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) tournament from Wings West. At 5:30 p.m., the regular season champion and top seed Kalamazoo United faces fourth-seed Portage Central, followed by second-seed Mattawan and the third-seeded Blades of Southwest Michigan at 7:45 p.m.
Coming off their first-ever regular season league title, Kalamazoo United is the favorite at 19-1-1 overall and 9-1 in league play (including a 6-0 mark against the semifinal teams). United defeated Portage Central in both of their regular season meetings, 4-1 on December 7 and 8-0 on January 25.
The Mustangs and United met in last year’s semifinal round with Portage Central earning a 4-1 win. They’ve been in the tournament final three consecutive seasons and four of the last five, with two championships in that stretch. This season, the Mustangs went 5-5 in league play and hold an overall mark of 8-14-1.
The second semifinal features defending tournament champion Mattawan, who won 4-3 over Portage Central in last year’s final. They’ve also taken three of the last four tournament titles. This season, the Wildcats went 6-3-1 for second in the league standings and enter the tournament at 10-10-2 overall. They swept the regular season series over the Blades, 6-1 on December 3 and 6-4 on January 18.
Mattawan has dominated the Blades in recent memory, winning at least the last 15 meetings (the SWMHSHL website only lists back to 2011-12). The Blades finished 5-5 in league play this season and sit at 20-8-2 overall, a significant improvement from a two-win campaign last season. It’s their first semifinal appearance since 2013, when they lost 3-0 to Mattawan. Momentum entering the semifinals favors the Blades, who are 8-1-1 in their last ten games compared to a 1-5-1 mark for Mattawan in their last seven (although, the Wildcats did take United to overtime their last time out).
Listen live to both semifinal games on the Slocum Sports Network with United against Portage Central at 5:30, followed by the Blades and Mattawan at 7:45. The winners meet at 6:30 p.m. Saturday in the championship. The highest-seeded loser plays the Kalamazoo Eagles Saturday at 4:15 p.m. with the lowest-seeded loser meeting Portage Northern at 2 p.m. Saturday. All three of those games are also scheduled for broadcast on the Slocum Sports Network.
Listen live Tuesday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to boys and girls basketball as the Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants host the Battle Creek Central Bearcats. In the boys contest, the Maroon Giants enter at 13-1 with a six-game winning streak since their lone loss one month ago to Detroit East English. Last week’s Associated Press poll placed K-Central fifth best in Class A.
The Bearcats are 13-2 with their first loss coming when they hosted K-Central on December 9, falling 67-55. Their only other blemish was last month at Benton Harbor and since then, they’ve won seven straight.
Tuesday’s contest could also determine the champion of the Southwestern Michigan Athletic Conference (SMAC) East Division. At 7-0 in conference play, the Maroon Giants would lock up the title with a victory. The Bearcats are 5-1 and must win to stay in the running. Since renewing their series two seasons ago, the Maroon Giants are 5-0 versus the Bearcats. The last victory by the Bearcats against K-Central was on January 10, 2008.
The K-Central girls have had similar success against Battle Creek Central, winning the last five meetings. Apart from a forfeit victory due to K-Central’s use of an ineligible player in 2013, the Bearcats haven’t won in girls basketball over K-Central since 2011. It would be a monumental upset, as the Bearcats sit at 2-14 against the 11-3 Maroon Giants. K-Central won the earlier meeting this season, 80-42.
Listen to both boys and girls play Tuesday live on the Slocum Sports Network. The girls are scheduled for 5:45 p.m. with the boys at 7 p.m.
The Western Michigan Stallions hockey team completed the four-game season sweep over Eastern Michigan for the third consecutive season, taking Saturday’s series finale at home 7-3. The contest served as senior night for the Stallions and despite the lopsided final, Western Michigan didn’t lead until late in the second period.
The Eagles scored the only first period goal, coming from Joseph Smereck with 13:05 remaining. With 18:23 left in the second, Mark McGee put Eastern ahead 2-0. Then, Zach Mudge was able to tie the game with goals at 12:38 and 3:56 on the clock. On a powerplay goal at the 1:56 mark, Devin Farkas pushed WMU ahead before the second intermission.
The Stallions extended the lead to three in the third on a Colin Schieman powerplay score and a Zachary Roberts shorthanded strike. Brendan Adams got the Eagles back within two with 12:28 left, but the Stallions put the game out of reach with a goal by Wyatt Ford, followed by a Joey Olmsted powerplay score. For Olmsted, one of the seniors honored before the game, that was his first goal of the season, which drew a big reaction from the bench and crowd.
Western improves to 16-14-1-1 overall and 6-8-1-0 in Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League play. Eastern drops to 6-22-1-1 and 1-13-0-1. The Stallions have taken all 12 meetings between the two squads over the last three seasons.
Both teams have one regular season series left before reaching the league tournament. WMU has a home-and-home with Oakland, hosting them at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Wings West. You can listen to Friday’s game live on the Slocum Sports Network. The following night’s game is at Oakland at 8:30. EMU ends hosts Davenport Friday at 7 p.m., then travels to Davenport Saturday at 5:35.
Listen back to Saturday’s broadcast between WMU and EMU here:
The Comstock girls basketball team moved to 14-2 on the season with a 53-36 home victory Tuesday evening over Hackett Catholic, dropping the Irish to 10-5 overall. Hackett led at the beginning and end of the first quarter, up 14-12 after one. Comstock quickly regained the lead and extended the lead to eight, but Hackett got back within four by halftime, 22-18. It was the third quarter that made the ultimate difference, with the Colts taking the frame 18-6, a hole too big for the Irish to climb out of.
Daisy Ansel led Comstock’s offense with 21 points. Teammate Caylin Lopez added 15. Sydney Preston topped Hackett with 18 points. The Colts have won all four of their meetings against Hackett over the past three seasons.
Comstock is on a four-game winning streak and returns to action against conference foe Parchment at home Friday. Hackett has dropped three of their last four, albeit to very strong teams. They travel Friday to play a conference game against Lawton.
Listen back to Tuesday’s contest below:
Listen Tuesday evening live on the Slocum Sports Network to girls high school basketball as the Comstock Colts host the Hackett Catholic Irish. Entering the contest, Comstock sits at 11-2 overall, tied for the BCS-Red Conference lead at 7-1 with Buchanan. The Colts lost at Buchanan 37-33 on January 23, but avenged that defeat in their most recent contest, winning at home Friday 54-33. Comstock’s only other loss was to Gull Lake (9-5) on December 13. They’re averaging 50.5 points per game while allowing 35.9 per contest.
For Hackett Catholic, they dropped to 10-4 after a Monday overtime loss at Buchanan, 44-42. They’ve lost two of their last three including a loss Galesburg-Augusta, who controls the Southwestern Athletic Conference Valley Division at 9-0 in league play, ahead of Schoolcraft (7-2) and Hackett (5-3). All four of the Irish losses did come to teams with winning records and were decided by single-digit margins. Hackett is averaging 48.7 points per game while allowing 33.2 per contest.
Last season, Comstock won over Hackett on the road, 46-36. The Colts also two both contests the prior season (32-30, 37-31), which had started an annual meeting. Comstock has had back-to-back winning seasons and can improve on last year’s win total (13) with a victory over Hackett. Meanwhile, Hackett had a program-record 18 wins one year ago and would need a decent postseason run to reach that mark again. Both schools are stocked with potential moving forward, as the top two scorers on both squads are underclassmen.
Listen to Tuesday’s girls contest live on the Slocum Sports Network with a scheduled varsity tip-off of 6:30 p.m. While the girls meet at Comstock, these schools will also play Tuesday in boys action at Hackett.
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: