Portage Northern defeated Portage Central 4-1 Monday evening in the 14th annual Portage Rotary Hockey Classic at Wings Event Center, giving them the canoe trophy for only the third time in 14 tries. It is the first Husky win in the canoe series since 2013, giving the seven Portage Northern seniors their first canoe in their final try.
Despite the three-goal final difference, the Huskies didn’t hold the lead until a Will Todd snipe put them ahead 2-1 with 2:11 remaining. Listen to the goal below:
Portage Northern had 15 shots to Portage Central’s eight in the first period, but the Mustangs entered the first intermission ahead 1-0 on a goal by Erek Decker with 56 seconds left. The Huskies evened the game with 3:17 remaining in the second period with a Koty Meadmore goal.
The game stayed at 1-1 until Todd’s goal with 2:11 to go in the third period. Right off the next face off, the Mustangs committed a holding penalty, severely hampering any hope at a response. With 55 seconds left, Quentin Roseboom delivered the rare empty net powerplay goal for a 3-1 lead. To leave no doubt, the Huskies added one more 23 seconds later, courtesy of Connor Sorge.
Sophomore goalie Peter Todd had 23 saves for Portage Northern with his sophomore counterpart Bryan Gracey turning away 34 shots for the Mustangs. The Huskies improve to 3-6-0 overall and 2-1-0 in SWMHSHL play. They return to action at the Jenison Invite over the weekend, their first game is Friday at 6:30 p.m. against Bryon Center. Portage Central falls to 1-4-0 overall and 0-2-0 in league play. They meet the Kalamazoo Eagles at Wings West Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. in a game that can be heard on the Slocum Sports Network.
Listen back to Monday’s game below: Click here for the Box Score. Click here to see the Huskies celebrate with the canoe.
Listen live online Monday at 6:30 p.m. on the Slocum Sports Network to the 14th annual Portage Rotary Hockey Classic from the Wings Event Center. The winner of this game gets to hold the canoe trophy, which defending champion Portage Central has done 11 times in 13 chances. Portage Northern’s only victories came in 2013 and 2010.
It is the first 2017-18 season meeting between Portage Central and Portage Northern, who met five times last season. On the ice, the Mustangs won all four regular season meetings, although one game was later ruled a forfeit in favor of the Huskies. Last season’s canoe game was a 6-4 Portage Central win, led by a Max Mones hat-trick and a five-point effort from Konnor McLeod. Portage Northern ended up with the last laugh, winning their Pre-Regional postseason meeting 5-2.
So far this season, Portage Northern is 2-6-0 overall and Portage Central is 1-3-0. The Huskies are 1-1-0 in SWMHSHL play, getting their first league win Wednesday 7-5 over the Kalamazoo Eagles. The Mustangs fell in their lone league meeting to date, a 3-1 loss to the Blades of Southwest Michigan on November 22.
Listen live to Monday’s game online on the Slocum Sports Network with puck drop at 6:30 p.m. from the main arena at Wings Event Center.
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.
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.
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
Listen live online Monday evening on the Slocum Sports Network to the first round District #1 volleyball matches from Kalamazoo Central High School. The first match, set for 5:30 p.m., features the Mattawan Wildcats against the Portage Northern Huskies. The match to follow has the hosting Kalamazoo Central Maroon Giants and Portage Central Mustangs. All four SMAC members enter with winning records and strong programs.
Mattawan enters as the favorite coming off Saturday’s SMAC tournament championship, defeating Portage Central in the final match. At 33-7 according to Maxpreps, the Wildcats received a honorable mention in last week’s Class A Coaches Association poll and have been in the top ten at other points in the season. Mattawan was eliminated by Portage Central in last season’s district tournament. Two seasons ago, the Wildcats made it to the quarterfinal for the first time in program history.
Portage Northern entered last weekend at 26-21 and has significantly improved from their recent down seasons. The Huskies are looking for their first postseason victory since 2010. They were knocked out in last year’s district tournament by Portage Central. The last Portage Northern district championship came in 2007, with a trip to the quarterfinal that season. The Huskies were once a Class A powerhouse, winning 10 state championships in the 1980s and 90s.
Portage Central entered last weekend at 26-14 and is the defending district champion, getting as far the quarterfinal last season where they fell to Class A runner-up Rockford in five sets. The Mustang senior class is looking to claim their third district title in their four seasons. The school’s deepest run was a runner-up finish in 2009.
Kalamazoo Central took a 30-13-1 mark into the weekend and were knocked out by Niles in last season’s district tournament. Their last postseason victory came in 2013 with their most recent district championship in 2002. The Maroon Giants’ deepest run was a state title in 1996.
Monday’s winners move to Wednesday’s district semifinals. The Mattawan/Portage Northern winner plays Lakeshore (4-23-1) at 5:30 p.m. with the Portage Central/Kalamazoo Central winner meeting St. Joseph (15-23-0) in the following match. The district championship is Thursday at 6 p.m. with all of the matches at Kalamazoo Central.
You can listen to Monday’s first round matches, as well as Thursday’s district championship, live online via the Slocum Sports Network. The action begins Monday at 5:30 p.m. between Mattawan and Portage Northern with the Portage Central and Kalamazoo Central match to follow. The bracket can be found here via MHSAA.
The Portage Central Mustangs and Okemos Chiefs advanced to the District 3 boys soccer championship game Saturday with victories Thursday evening at Lakeview High School. The Mustangs defeated crosstown rival Portage Northern 2-0, giving them three wins this season over the Huskies. The Chiefs used a big first half to grab a 5-3 victory over Kalamazoo Central.
The Mustangs and Huskies stayed even early in a rematch of last week’s 1-0 SMAC Championship game. In the 28th minute, Nolan Jaros sent it ahead from midfield and Minh Le put it in the net for a 1-0 Mustang lead at half.
Although PC had the edge in possession time, the Huskies had their chances, forcing Mustang goalkeeper Nick Kuppler to unofficially tally nine saves. With 7:01 left in the match, Michael Ketteman broke away and delivered the final blow. The fourth-ranked Mustangs move to 16-2-3 with the Huskies finishing the year at 12-8-3.
In the other semifinal, Okemos took a 5-0 lead into halftime against Kalamazoo Central. A penalty kick goal in the fifth minute by John-Luca Migaldi started the scoring. Alejandro Arana scored in the 14th minute, Ty Usiak in the 30th, Ben Derby in the 36th, and Jacob Mead in the 38th.
The Maroon Giants tried to rally late, with Paulo Alcala scoring thrice, the first coming in the 61st minute. He scored again with 2:47 remaining, followed by one more 33 seconds later, but the hole was too deep to get out of. Kalamazoo Central finishes at 10-7-3 with Okemos improving to 12-3-4.
Portage Central and Okemos play for the District 3 championship Saturday at noon from Lakeview High School in Battle Creek. They met in last year’s district semifinal, won by Okemos 3-0, who went on to claim the district over Portage Northern.
Listen back to Thursday’s games below:
PORTAGE CENTRAL VS PORTAGE NORTHERN
OKEMOS VS KALAMAZOO CENTRAL