Category Archives: Hockey

PREVIEW: Kalamazoo United Faces Grand Haven, Portage Central Meets Kenowa Hills/Fruitport

12-2 hockey
Listen live online Saturday afternoon on the Slocum Sports Network to a high school hockey doubleheader at Wings West.  Game one at 2:15 p.m. features Kalamazoo United against Grand Haven, followed by game two around 4:30 p.m. between Portage Central and Kenowa Hills/Fruitport.

Kalamazoo United sits at 1-1-0 overall, getting their first win Wednesday over the Kalamazoo Eagles.   Grand Haven enters the weekend at 1-2-1 with three of their four games going to overtime and all four decided by one goal.   Last December, Kalamazoo United beat Grand Haven 3-1, getting 38 saves from goalie Mitch Kihm.

Portage Central enters the weekend at 0-2-0 with Kenowa Hills/Fruitport at 0-3-1.  The Mustangs and Knights did not meet last season.   Their last meeting came in January 2015, a 2-1 Kenowa Hills win.

Listen live to both games online Saturday on the Slocum Sports Network with United/Grand Haven at 2:15 p.m. and Portage Central/Kenowa Hills around 4:30 p.m.


RECAP: Kalamazoo United, Mattawan Earn 4-1 Victories

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Kalamazoo United’s Jake Gerhard made 44 saves in Wednesday’s victory

Kalamazoo United and Mattawan picked up SWMHSHL victories Wednesday evening, as United topped the Kalamazoo Eagles and the Wildcats beat Portage Northern, both by finals of 4-1.   Both winners saw great goaltending as United’s Jake Gerhard made 44 saves and Mattawan’s Shaffer Moore tallied 34.

In the first game, Kalamazoo United’s Brenden Warner scored the opening goal with 10:28 remaining on the first.   The Eagles seemed to have a big opportunity midway through the second off a major penalty against United, but the Hams picked up a shorthanded goal by Garrett Warner.  The Eagles committed a major of their own late in the second and found themselves in a 5-on-3 situation, which United’s Topher Strunk used for a powerplay goal and a 3-0 lead entering the second intermission.

The Eagles scored their goal with 14:29 left thanks to Carter Maxey, but couldn’t beat Gerhard again, despite 20 shots on goal in the third period.   Brenden Warner tallied an empty net goal for the 4-1 final, giving him a three point night off two goals and one assist.   Eagle goalie Huston Born had 24 saves.  United’s win gives them a 1-0-0 start to league play and puts them at 1-1-0 overall.   The Eagles fall to 1-3-0 overall and 0-2-0 within the SWMHSHL.

In the second game, Mattawan’s Jason Moreau scored with 13:27 to go in the first period.   The 1-0 score held until Moreau struck again early in the second.   With 4:59 remaining in the second, Niko Stamas grabbed a Mattawan powerplay goal.   In the final minute, Jake Kruzich added a shorthanded goal for a 4-0 Wildcat lead.   Portage Northern’s lone score came early in the third period on a powerplay from Will Todd.

Kruzich finished with a three point night on his goal and assists on both Moreau goals.  Husky goalie Peter Todd had 22 saves.   Mattawan is 2-0-0 in league play and 2-1-1 overall, Portage Northern drops to 0-1-0 in league action and 1-4-0 overall.

Mattawan hosts West Ottawa Friday at Wings West, then travels Saturday against St. Joseph/Lakeshore.  Portage Northern heads to Jackson Saturday night.   The Kalamazoo Eagles make the trip to Northview Saturday.   Kalamazoo United hosts Grand Haven Saturday afternoon.

Listen back to Wednesday’s games below:



PREVIEW: United Faces Eagles, Wildcats Battle Huskies

11-30 hockey

Listen live online Wednesday on the Slocum Sports Network to a high school hockey doubleheader from Wings West.   Game one at 5:30 p.m. features Kalamazoo United against the Kalamazoo Eagles.  Game two around 7:45 p.m. has the Mattawan Wildcats versus the Portage Northern Huskies.

Wednesday will be the first Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) game for Kalamazoo United, as they look to defend their regular season and tournament championship from last season.  It will be United’s second overall match, as they fell 4-2 in their opener at Canton on November 18.

Meanwhile, the Eagles lost their SWMHSHL opener last Wednesday 4-0 against Mattawan.    They’re still searching for their first win as well, sitting at 0-2-1 overall.   United’s lone league loss last season came to the Eagles, as they split their 16-17 meetings.   The Eagles won 4-3 on January 18, with United victorious 9-2 on December 14.

Like United, Portage Northern plays their first league game Wednesday.   They’re 1-3-0 thus far, with their most recent game Saturday in a 5-4 loss to Grand Haven.  Mattawan won their league opener last week against the Eagles.   It was their first overall win as well, with the Wildcats at 1-1-1.

Mattawan beat the Huskies twice last season, 3-1 on January 14 and 9-6 on December 7.   They split their meetings two seasons ago, with the last Portage Northern win on January 27, 2016.

Listen live to Wednesday’s doubleheader online on the Slocum Sports Network.   Kalamazoo United meets the Kalamazoo Eagles at 5:30 p.m., followed by Mattawan versus Portage Northern around 7:45 p.m.

RECAP: Mattawan, SWM Blades Open League Play with Wins

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Mattawan prepares to hit the ice.  Brad Kolinski (#8) and Niko Stamas (#9) both had goals Wednesday.  Shaffer Moore (#1) had a shutout in net. 

The Mattawan Wildcats and Blades of Southwest Michigan saw victories on Thanksgiving Eve, as Mattawan shutout the Kalamazoo Eagles 4-0 and the Blades downed Portage Central 3-1.   For all four teams, it was the first action of the season within the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL).

In game one, Mattawan controlled the possession and tempo throughout the entire contest, finishing with 42 shots on goal and allowing only 15.   The first three goals came within the first six minutes of action, scored by Zach Swintz, Niko Stamas, and Brad Kolinski.   The score held at 3-0 until Zach Wiggins’ goal midway through the third period.

Shaffer Moore earned his first shutout of the season for the Wildcats, giving them their first overall win of the campaign with a 1-1-1 record.  The Eagles fall to 1-2-0 on the loss.

In the second game, the Blades scored on a blue-line slap shot from Vicksburg sophomore Austin Zeigler 90 seconds into the match.   The game remained 1-0 until Cole Shafer’s Blade goal with 8:15 remaining in the third.   Portage Central finally got by Blade goalie Zac Hattan with 4:05 to go on a Mitchell Ely goal, but a Zac Gothard empty netter in the final minute secured the Blade victory.

Hattan made 22 saves, PC’s Bryan Gracey stopped 33 shots.  Jaxon Dobrolowski had assists on the first two Blade goals, helping get them to 3-0-0 overall thus far.  The Mustangs sit at 0-2-0.

Portage Central is off until Saturday, December 2 at home against Kenowa Hills.   The Blades return to action this Saturday at home versus Royal Oak.  Mattawan’s next contest is next Wednesday against league foe Portage Northern.  The Eagles join Mattawan in the doubleheader Wednesday as they face Kalamazoo United.

Listen back to Wednesday’s games below:



PREVIEW: First SWMHSHL Conference Games Set for Wednesday

11-23 hockey

Listen live online Wednesday on the Slocum Sports Network to a doubleheader from the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL).  Game one, set for 5:30 p.m., features the Mattawan Wildcats against the Kalamazoo Eagles.   The second game around 7:45 p.m. has the Portage Central Mustangs against the Blades of Southwest Michigan.  It’s the first league play of the 2017-18 campaign.

All four teams opened their regular season last week against non-league opponents.  Mattawan sits at 0-1-1 with a 2-1 loss Friday at Grand Rapids West Catholic and a 2-2 draw Saturday against Grand Haven.   The Eagles are 1-1-0 with a 8-6 Wednesday win over Kenowa Hills and a 8-3 loss Saturday to Jenison.    Last November, Mattawan beat the Eagles 6-1.  Their January rematch was a 7-7 draw.   The last Eagle win over the Wildcats was December 10, 2014.

Both Portage Central and the Blades faced Notre Dame Prep over the weekend.  The Mustangs fell 5-3 Saturday, whereas the Blades had a dominant 8-0 win Friday.   The Blades also grabbed a 8-2 win over West Catholic Saturday.   The Blades won both meetings with Portage Central last season, 5-3 and 2-1.   The Mustangs claimed both matchups over the Blades two seasons ago.

Listen live to Wednesday’s action online on the Slocum Sports Network.   Mattawan and the Eagles meet at 5:30 p.m., followed the Portage Central against the Blades around 7:45 p.m.

RECAP: Calvin Earns Season Sweep of WMU Stallions on 6-3 Victory

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Calvin goalkeeper Alex Gross in pregame warmups.

The Calvin College Knights defeated the Western Michigan Stallions 6-3 Wednesday night at Wings West, giving Calvin wins in all four of their regular season meetings with WMU.   Jared Virtanen and Christian Gums both tallied hat-tricks in the Calvin victory.

The Knights took control from the very start with three goals in the first ten minutes.  Virtanen had the first score just over three minutes into the game on a rebound.  Four minutes later right as a four-on-four turned into a Calvin powerplay, Gums gave the Knights a 2-0 lead.   About two minutes later on a powerplay, Virtanen scored again and Calvin carried the 3-0 advantage through the first intermission.

With 16:39 left in the second period, Gums added his second goal of the night.   Right as a powerplay expired with 6:53 to go, Gums made it a hat-trick, giving Calvin a 5-0 lead into the second break.

Western Michigan was able to win the third period 3-1, although the hole was too deep to climb out of.  A big blue-line slapshot by Corey Siwula got the Stallions on the board with 12:53 remaining.  With 8:47 left, Zach Roberts managed to poke it past Calvin goalie Alex Gross through a ton of traffic.    At 5:13, Virtanen got his third goal for Calvin for some extra cushion, although the Stallions did get one more in the final minute from Brandon Grillo.   Gross was credited with 32 saves for the Knights.

WMU (26th in the latest ACHA Division 1 computer rankings) drops to 9-9-1 officially overall and is off until the first weekend of December with a trip to Kent State.    Calvin (23rd in the rankings) improves to 6-5-1 and travels to Rochester College Friday at 8 p.m., then hosts Rochester Saturday at 1 p.m.

Listen back to Wednesday’s game below:

Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL) 2017-18 Season Preview

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November marks the beginning of the 2017-18 high school hockey season.   This post takes a look at the six teams of the Southwest Michigan High School Hockey League (SWMHSHL), how they fared last year and what lies ahead for this season.

Kalamazoo United 9-1 21-4-1 Pre-Regional Loss
Mattawan 6-3-1 11-11-2 Pre-Regional Loss
SWM Blades 5-5 22-13-3 None
Portage Central 5-5 8-17-1 Pre-Regional Loss
Kalamazoo Eagles 3-6-1 N/A None
Portage Northern 1-9 8-18 Regional Final Loss

SWMHSHL Tournament Championship: Kalamazoo United 3, Mattawan 2.

Kalamazoo United had their strongest season in program history in 2016-17, claiming their first ever SWMHSHL regular season and tournament championship.  The Hams boasted league co-MVPs Noel Cavey and Jacob Remelius, plus goalie-of-the-year Mitch Kihm.  They have graduated along with their other top five point scorers.    They do have some solid returners back such as the Warner brothers at forward and Nathan Carr at defense, but United will have to replace a lot of offensive production.

Mattawan loses their top two scoring players in Jeff Kirkendall and Ben Berkowitz, along with SWMHSHL 2nd-team defenseman Nate Roberts.  They return their other 2nd-team defenseman in Brad Kolinski, their third-highest scorer Jake Kruzich, goalkeeper Shaffer Moore, and just about everyone else from last season.

The Southwest Michigan Blades made a huge jump last season, going from only two total wins the season before to 22 in 17-18.  Notably gone are top scorer Evan Wilson and
defenseman Schuyler DeVries, but the Blades return almost everyone from last season, including 2nd-team goalkeeper Zac Hattan for his sophomore campaign.

Portage Central graduated top scorer Max Mones and 2nd-team defenseman Kobe Vincent among six seniors.  Notably back for the Mustangs include their #2 scorer Konnor McLeod for his junior year, along with fellow underclassmen Skyler and Jaden Sorenson.

The Kalamazoo Eagles have a new head coach in Randy Shoemaker.  He’s no stranger to the league as a former Eagle assistant coach and Mattawan player.  Also gone are 1st-team defenseman David Kiel and other key seniors Blake Jarrett and Mark Andrysiak.   Returning playmakers include Jimmy Wressel and Carter Maxey.

Portage Northern has to replace top scorer Eli Cartier, but he is one of only three seniors gone from last season.  Their 2018 senior class has a lot of major contributors from last season such as Grant Ernst, Griffin McLeod, and Will Todd.   Also of note is goalkeeper Peter Todd, who showed flashes of potential after his trial by fire last year as their lone goalie as a freshman.

The master list of home games and league games for all six teams can be found here.   Stay tuned to the Slocum Sports Network for SWMHSHL broadcast throughout the winter.

PREVIEW: WMU Stallions Meet Calvin for Fourth Time

10-7 hockey

Listen live online Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET on the Slocum Sports Network to ACHA Division 1 hockey as the Western Michigan University Stallions host the Calvin College Knights at Wings West.  It will be the fourth and final meeting between the teams in the regular season and like their most recent game, this will count toward the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL) standings.

2017 marked the beginning of this hockey rivalry between two schools an hour apart with Calvin’s debut Division 1 season.   Both teams sit near the .500 mark through mid-November with the Stallions at 9-8-1 and the Knights at 5-5-1.   Last week’s D1 computer ranking placed Calvin 24th and WMU 30th.   Both teams are looking to climb into a top 20 spot, with the top 20 in the final rankings placed into the national tournament.

Calvin has gotten the better of Western Michigan in their three other meetings this season.   Their first ever meeting back on October 6 at Calvin saw a late rally by the Knights, forcing overtime with a goal in the final six seconds of regulation for an eventual 3-2 win.    The next night in Kalamazoo, Calvin won a 7-6 back-and-forth affair.  Meeting #3 came two Wednesdays ago in Grand Rapids, a 6-2 Calvin win.

Since that most recent match, the Stallions have earned three wins, one loss, and one shootout defeat.   Calvin played Eastern Michigan that weekend to a shootout loss and a victory.   Officially, any shootout games are marked as a tie for computer ranking purposes.  Wednesday’s game will be Calvin’s first action in 11 days.

Listen live to Wednesday’s game online via the Slocum Sports Network with puck drop scheduled for around 7:30 p.m. from Wings West.

RECAP: WMU Stallions Beat Eastern Michigan 5-3

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The Western Michigan Stallions downed the Eastern Michigan Eagles 5-3 Saturday at Wings West, giving them a split for the weekend after dropping their Friday contest 4-2.     Eastern Michigan scored first as Josh Davenport was assisted by Joshua Somers with 14:12 to go in the first.   The Stallions tied it up with Brandon Grillo’s goal, assisted by Devin Farkas, with 7:19 left.

WMU faced a five-minute major off a boarding penalty, but killed it off and got a Josh Kirsch shorthanded goal with 5:54 remaining, taking a 2-1 Stallion lead into the first intermission.  The Eagles scored the second period’s lone goal with 7:37 left thanks to Tim Conlin.  Conlin then put the Eagles ahead six minutes into the third period, 3-2.

About two minutes later, EMU committed dueling minor penalties, allowing Stallions defenseman Michael Altobelli to tally a 5-on-3 goal to tie the game.   A standard powerplay with 6:33 left put WMU ahead as Wyatt Ford found Farkas at the net, who gave a quick reversal to Brandon Grillo.    Farkas put one in himself three minutes later to seal the win.

Unofficially, WMU had 42 shots on goal to EMU’s 35.  Myles Madden made 33 saves for the Stallions with 38 for Eastern’s Kevin O’Shea.  The Stallions move to 6-4-0 overall and meet Adrian next week, hitting the road Thursday and hosting Saturday.   The Eagles fall to 6-3-0 and host Trine Thursday, followed by Davenport at home Friday.

Listen back to Saturday’s game below:

PREVIEW: Western Michigan Stallions Host Eastern Michigan

10-21 hockey
This weekend, the Western Michigan Stallions host the Eastern Michigan Eagles for hockey action at Wings West Friday and Saturday evening.   Puck drop is set for around roughly 6:15 p.m. Friday and 5:30 p.m. Saturday and you can listen to Saturday’s game live online via the Slocum Sports Network.

The Stallions enter the series at 5-3-0 overall, splitting in their road trip to Buffalo last weekend with a 3-2 overtime win and a 7-0 loss.   The Eagles are 5-2-0 thus far and split a home-and-home with Aquinas last weekend, winning 4-3 and losing 1-0.

Last season, the Stallions won all four meetings over EMU, 7-3 and 5-4 on the road, 6-3 and 7-3 at home.   WMU also went 4-0 over EMU the previous two seasons, with the last Eagle victory over the Stallions coming on December 6, 2013.   However, the Eagles are significantly improved, already topping their three total wins from last season.

Both games this weekend are at Wings West in Kalamazoo with puck drop scheduled for around roughly 6:15 p.m. Friday and 5:30 p.m. Saturday.   You can listen to Saturday’s contest online live via the Slocum Sports Network.