The Blades of Southwest Michigan defeated Mattawan 4-3 in the final minute of overtime and Portage Northern topped the Kalamazoo Eagles 7-5 in Wednesday’s SWMHSHL doubleheader at Wings West. The Blades’ victory snapped at least a 16-game, six-season losing streak to Mattawan, based on the SWMHSHL website’s scores dating back to the 2011-12 season. Team captain Alex Ploehn had the game winner on a five-on-three powerplay with 33 seconds remaining.
The Blades scored their first goal within the first two minutes from Parker Lawrence, but Mattawan would respond three minutes later with a Sam Puzevic goal. Midway through the period, the Blades earned two quick minor penalties, allowing for a Jason Moreau powerplay goal and a 2-1 Wildcat lead. The score stayed 2-1 through the second period, despite the Blades getting four chances at the powerplay.
With 10:41 remaining in the third period, Mattawan took a 3-1 lead on a Zach Wiggins score. Less than a minute later, Blaine Shafer matched it for the Blades. The Wildcats picked up another penalty shortly thereafter and on their fifth powerplay of the game, Ploehn scored with 7:23 to go.
The game went to overtime tied at 3-3. The penalty bug would bite Mattawan again, picking up a major and minor about a minute apart, giving the Blades a five-on-three for the final part of the extra period. Once again, the senior team captain from Lakeview Ploehn found the back of the net.
Ploehn finished with three points, also getting an assist. Mattawan’s Wiggins also had three points with his goal and two assists. Blade goalie Zac Hattan was credited with 26 saves, Mattawan’s Shaffer Moore had 27. The Blades improve to 7-1-0 overall and 2-0-0 within SWMHSHL play. Mattawan falls to 2-4-1 overall and 2-1-0 in the league.
In the other game, the Eagles struck first on a Jimmy Wressel goal only 76 seconds into the game. Portage Northern’s Will Todd responded just over a minute later to even things. Griffin McLeod and Quentin Roseboom both found the back of the net to put the Huskies up 3-1 at the first intermission.
Dylan Ruggles made it a three-goal game early in the second, followed by Roseboom’s second goal midway through the frame, this one on the powerplay, for a 5-1 Husky advantage. However, the Eagles scored thrice in the final 5:10 of the second on goals by Zachary Pernie, Wressel, and Colin Mehren, putting the score at 5-4.
Portage Northern added more cushion with quick third period goals from Grant Ernst and Connor Sorge. Wressel earned a hat-trick on a powerplay goal with 9:36 remaining, but the Eagles couldn’t get any closer than the 7-5 final. Connor Sorge had three points, adding two assists to his goal. Wressel added one assist to his hat-trick, Mehren also had four points with three assists. Portage Northern improves to 1-1-0 in SWMHSHL play and 2-5-0 overall, the Eagles fall to 0-3-0 in the league and 1-5-0 overall.
The Huskies play Saline Saturday at 2:25 p.m. from Lawson Ice Arena. The Eagles meet Portage Central next Wednesday at Wings West. The Blades head to Indiana over the weekend for the Cornfield Cup at the Culver Academies. Mattawan hosts Detroit Country Day at Wings West Friday.
Listen back to Wednesday’s games here:
Listen live online Wednesday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to a high school hockey doubleheader at Wings West. Up first at 5:30 p.m. is Portage Northern against the Kalamazoo Eagles, followed by Mattawan and the Blades of Southwest Michigan around 7:45 p.m.
Both the Eagles (0-2-0) and Huskies (0-1-0) are looking for their first win in SWMHSHL play. The Eagles enter at 1-4-0 overall with Portage Northern at 1-5-0. They met three times last year with the Huskies winning the most recent game, 4-2 in the conference tournament. They split their regular season matches with a 5-4 Husky overtime win and a 5-2 Eagle win.
In game two, neither Mattawan (2-0-0) or the Blades (1-0-0) have been defeated by a league foe. The Wildcats are 2-3-1 overall with the Blades at 6-1-0 thus far. Mattawan won their tournament semifinal game last year over the Blades 5-0, plus got 6-4 and 6-1 regular season wins. Mattawan has won at least 16 consecutive meetings over the Blades, according to the SWMHSHL’s scores listed back to the 2011-12 season.
Listen live to both games Wednesday online on the Slocum Sports Network with Portage Northern/Eagles at 5:30 p.m. and Mattawan/Blades around 7:45 p.m.
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:
UNITED VS EAGLES – Box Score
MATTAWAN VS PORTAGE NORTHERN – Box Score
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.
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:
MATTAWAN VS EAGLES
BLADES VS PORTAGE CENTRAL
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.
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|
|Portage Central||5-5||8-17-1||Pre-Regional Loss|
|Portage Northern||1-9||8-18||Regional Final Loss|
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.
The Mattawan Wildcats earned their second district championship in three years with a sweep at Kalamazoo Central Thursday, 25-15, 25-17, 25-17. The Maroon Giants started hot, using energy from their large home crowd to begin the match 4-0. Down 8-4, the Wildcats got the serve to sophomore Natalie Foster and used numerous aces to go on a 10-0 run. Mattawan dominated the rest of the first set and remained in control through the second and third sets.
Unofficially, Taylor Rutgers tallied 13 kills for Mattawan, including the final kill. Foster had six kills and four aces. For Kalamazoo Central, Kennedy Livers had eight kills, followed by seven from Peri Herder.
The Maroon Giants finish at 34-16-1 and will graduate six seniors; Kennedy Kubiak, Herder, Livers, Josephine Fonger, Julia Naranjo, and Talia Edmonds. Meanwhile Mattawan, which has zero seniors on the squad, improves to 39-7 overall. The Wildcats head to the Regional semifinal Tuesday at St. Johns to face DeWitt, ranked fourth in the final Class A Coaches Poll.
Listen back to the district final below:
Listen live online Thursday at 6 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network to the MHSAA District #1 championship with the Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants hosting the Mattawan Wildcats. K-Central defeated Portage Central Monday and St. Joseph Wednesday to advance, with Mattawan downing Portage Northern Monday and Lakeshore Wednesday.
These teams met two weeks earlier in Kalamazoo with Mattawan earning a four-set victory, 25-23, 25-21, 26-28, 25-21. Natalie Foster led the Wildcats that night with 20 kills, followed by Kathryn Puzevic’s 17 kills and 25 digs from Allie Wiese. The Maroon Giants got 11 kills from both Kennedy Livers and Josephine Fonger, along with 34 digs by Julia Naranjo.
The Wildcats enter the match at 38-7 on the season with Kalamazoo Central at 34-15-1. Mattawan is looking for their second district title in three seasons, hoping to best their first-ever state quarterfinal appearance in 2015. The Maroon Giants last claimed a district crown in 2002.
Listen live to Thursday’s district final live online on the Slocum Sports Network with first serve set for 6 p.m. from Kalamazoo Central. The winner moves to the Regional semifinal Tuesday at St. Johns against either St. Johns or DeWitt.
Kalamazoo Central and Mattawan were the victors in Monday’s District 1 first round volleyball matches at K-Central, advancing to semifinal matches Wednesday. The Maroon Giants grabbed their first postseason victory since 2013, beating Portage Central 25-23, 25-23, 27-25. The Wildcats bested Portage Northern 25-22, 25-21, 25-11.
KC and PC was tight throughout, with all three sets ending up tied at 23-23. The Maroon Giants didn’t lead by two in the first set until the 25th point. Kalamazoo Central got up by five early in the second, but found themselves down 20-18 before rallying back. The Mustangs started up four in the third, followed by a three-point Giant lead midway through, before turning into a back-and-forth affair to the end.
Unofficially, Peri Herder topped Kalamazoo Central with nine kills, including the final one. Regina Wolf added eight kills and five blocks, getting her team to 33-15-1 on the season. Ryann Jaqua had 16 kills for PC, followed by 14 from Mackenzie Lundin. Portage Central finishes 28-16 and graduates seniors Maddie Wojcik, Emma Kite, Jessie Zesiger, Kenzie Zook, and Allison Sturgeon.
Mattawan and Portage Northern stayed very even in the first set with neither team taking a multi-point lead until the Wildcats did at the end. The Huskies led for the first part of the second set, but a 7-0 run off the service of Alli Wiese pushed Mattawan ahead and the Wildcats remained in control the rest of the way.
Unofficially, Madison Dorff tallied seven kills and three aces for Mattawan with Kathryn Puzevic also getting seven kills, moving them to 37-7 overall. Emily Lewis led Portage Northern in her final match with 13 kills, followed by 9 from fellow senior Hannah Biddlecome. The Huskies finish 28-23 and also graduate Kaylee Peterson, Ella Lewis, Corinne McCarthy and Cecilia Pirchio.
Mattawan will meet Lakeshore (6-25-1) in Wednesday’s semifinal at 5:30 p.m., followed Kalamazoo Central against St. Joseph (16-26-0) around 7. The winners Wednesday play for the District 1 championship Thursday at 6 p.m. and you can hear the District final on the Slocum Sports Network. All matches are at Kalamazoo Central.
Listen back to Monday’s contests below:
KALAMAZOO CENTRAL VS PORTAGE CENTRAL
MATTAWAN VS PORTAGE NORTHERN