Blogs > In the Zone

Jason Schmitt is the editor of, the high school sports website for The Oakland Press. He has served as the sports editor for a number of newspapers, including the Daily Tribune in Royal Oak and the Macomb Daily in Mount Clemens. In his time in the industry, he has covered every high school sport and has served a a beat writer for boys and girls soccer, boys and girls tennis, hockey, wrestling, bowling and cross country.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Playing hockey for a good cause

West Bloomfield will host Troy Athens in an OAA White matchup on Jan. 19th. The game will double as a charity game to support the family of slain West Bloomfield police officer Patrick O'Rourke. The puck is expected to drop at 7:30 p.m. at the Orchard Lake St. Mary's Ice Arena. I'll pass along more details when I get them.

Holiday cheer
  • Berkley-Ferndale Unified is hosting a tournament on Jan. 3-5 at the Berkley Ice Arena. The field includes Marysville, Port Huron, Bloomfield United, New Boston Huron, Monroe, Macomb Lutheran North, Royal Oak Shrine and the host Bears.
  • The Rochester Holiday Showcase is returning this year, on Dec. 28-29. Rochester and Stoney Creek will by joined by Marysville and Utica Eisenhower. Rochester will face Marysville on the 28th, while Stoney Creek will take on Eisenhower. The two Rochester schools will then trade opponents for their games on the 29th.
This past week's stars
- Adam Susalla, Luke Braun and Zach Tayler, Birmingham Unified: Susalla and Braun each had a hat trick and Tayler added two goals and two assists as the Unified team crushed Sterling Heights Stevenson 11-4 a week ago Monday.
- Cody Jones, West Bloomfield: Scored four goals against Troy Athens last Wednesday, the last of which was the game-winner in the Lakers' 6-5 win over the Red Hawks.
- Austin Sereno, Waterford Mott: Against his arch-rival, Sereno scored four goals and assisted on another in the Corsairs' 7-2 win over the Captains. His brother, Chase Sereno, had a goal and three assists.
- Nathan Gurzell, Troy Athens: The senior forward scored a pair of goals and assisted on two more in his team's 6-5 overtime loss to Bloomfield Hills United last week.
- Trevor Tierney, Milford: Helped his team cruise past Ann Arbor Huron, 7-2, scoring four goals for the Mavericks. Teammate Dominic Bates added two more in the win.
- Joey Leider, Ian Melrose and Robby Flannery, Berkley-Ferndale: Leider (three assists), Melrose (two assists) and Flannery all scored twice in the Bears big win.
- Andrew Kinney, Novi Detroit Catholic Central: Scored a pair of goals as the host Shamrocks mercied Trenton, 8-0.
- Chris Bradley, Royal Oak Shrine: Bradley scored a pair of goals to lead the Knights to a 4-3 win over Riverview Gabriel Richard last Thursday.
- Will Ulrich, Orchard Lake St. Mary's: Ulrich stopped all 21 shots he face in a 4-0 win over Port Huron Northern.
- Zach Bensinger, Detroit Country Day: Bensinger scored a hat trick, assisting on another goal in the Yellowjackets win over Marysville.
- Eric Rosteck, Walled Lake Central: Rosteck scored two goals to help the Vikings past Lakeland on Friday.
- Ned O'Boyle, Hartland: O'Boyle scored the game-winning goal in overtime to lead the Eagles past Novi in the championship game of the Clarkston Holiday Classic on Saturday.
- Russell Cicerone, Brother Rice: Scored two goals and had two assists in the No. 1-ranked Warriors' 9-0 rout of Marquette.
- Brad Merola, Troy Athens: Scored the Red Hawks' last two goals as they eked out a 3-3 tie with Oxford on Saturday.
- Cody Jones, West Bloomfield: Yet another hat trick for Jones, leading the Lakers past Troy, 5-2.
- Jacob Saroli, Birmingham Unified: The goalie stopped all 24 shots he faced to pick up the shutout for the Kings.
- Austin Lukaschewski, Bishop Foley Unified: The junior scored five points - three goals and two assists - in his team's 7-2 win over Macomb Lutheran North Saturday.
- Michael Romund, Cranbrook-Kingswood: The senior notched his second hat trick of the season, as the Cranes crushed Grand Rapids Catholic Central, 9-1, on Saturday.

Upcoming coverage on MIPrepZone
Some of the games we're planning on coming out to this week include:
Oxford vs. Lake Orion (Joe Louis Arena)
Country Day vs. Utica Eisenhower (Joe Louis Arena)
Hartland vs. Lakeland
Rochester vs. Clarkston
Cranbrook vs. Brother Rice
Farmington vs. Farmington Unified

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hockey at the Joe

Football games at Ford Field. Baseball games at Comerica. And now hockey at the Joe. High School kids sure have it good these days.
On Wednesday, there will be three high school games played at Joe Louis Arena, two of which involve Oakland County teams. Oxford and Lake Orion square off at 6 p.m., followed by Detroit Country Day and Utica Eisenhower at 8:30 p.m. Cadillac and Big Rapids play in the day's early game, at 3:30 p.m.
On Friday, South Lyon Unified will play Livonia Stevenson, beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 each (general admission) and will be sold at the Joe Louis Arena box office, beginning at 10 a.m. on each gameday.
The Red Wings are making it interesting for one of the games, offering up a "Media package" of sorts. The game that receives the most votes via text, on Twitter and voting on the Red Wings website will receive special preview and recap articles, extensive social media coverage and be profiled in an official DRW TV Comerica Bank Game Day Preview, hosted by Wings radio broadcaster Ken Kal.
Fans are able to vote on which squad they’d like to see covered by the Red Wings’ integrated
media team by texting the name of the school to 21732 or by tweeting one of the following
hashtags to @DRWvote: #Cadillac, #Big_Rapids, #Oxford, #Lake_Orion, #Country_Day,
#Utica_Eisenhower, #Livonia_Stevenson, #South_Lyon. Ballots can also be cast online at The school that receives the most combined votes
across the three platforms will be announced at noon on Tuesday.
Of course, this is what we here at The Oakland Press and MIPrepZone offer - for the most part - our schools when we cover them!
For the record, Cadillac has a huge lead in the online voting, with about 57 percent of the vote. Country Day has  31.6 percent. South Lyon (6.2), Livonia Stevenson (1.5), Lake Orion (1.2), Eisenhower (1.0), Big Rapids (0.9) and Oxford (0.5) are well behind. Voting ends at midnight Monday.

Follow myself on Twitter @JasonESchmitt and @MIPrepZone as I'll be trying to spread the word about this vote - for Oakland County teams. It's not too late to catch Cadillac. But everyone must vote, and often.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The hockey never stops

I do have to say, trying keep up with all the high school hockey action can be overwhelming. Sunday's my only off day. That being said, I cannot believe the season's already 1/3 over with.
For those who did not see, our hockey preview ran in this past Sunday's paper. If you didn't, here are links to my Top-10 teams and capsules on all our teams.
Each week I'm hoping to be able to catch up on the previous week's happenings. I'll try to do that every Monday or Tuesday. I'm a bit late this week. It's my chance to highlight the performances of some of the best players in the county. Looking back at last week, here are some of those top performances (based on games we covered and calls/emails we received from county coaches):
- Matt Kerchner, Lake Orion: The last of his three goals helped the Dragons eke out a tie with Howell last Thursday. The goal came with just 49 seconds left in the game.
- Zack Segall, Berkley-Ferndale: Came through with a pair of power-play goals in his team's 6-1 win over Bloomfield Hills United Friday night.
- Michael Romund, Cranbrook: The Cranes' senior forward scored a natural hat trick, helping them to a 5-2 win over Catholic Central Friday night. The win kept Cranbrook unbeaten in the MIHL.
- Justin Zabinski, South Lyon Unified: Sophomore goalie Justin Zabinski stopped 24 of 25 shots he faced in his team's 4-1 win over Novi Friday night.
- Sebastian Stankiewicz, Country Day: Finished with a hat trick (and five points) in leading the Yellowjackets to a 5-1 win over Grosse Ile on Wednesday. Also scored the game-winning goal in his team's 3-2 win over Monroe St. Mary's Catholic Central on Saturday.
- Nolan Johnson, Lakeland: He scored twice to stake the Eagles to a 6-1 lead - an eventual 6-3 win - over St. Clair Shores Unified last Wednesday.
- Chase Smith, Bloomfield United: The Chargers needed every one of Smith's three goals in a 3-2 win over Royal Oak Thursday night.
- Cooper McLean, Farmington: Had a hat trick, leading the Falcons over Birmingham Unified, 4-1, Thursday.
- Eric Stanis, Farmington Hills Unified: He scored a pair of goals in his team's 4-1 win over Clarkston Saturday night.
- Nolan Arbour, Stoney Creek: Though the game was a tie in league play, Arbour's second goal of the game helped the Cougars beat Lake Orion, 2-1, in overtime Saturday.
- Adam Dennis, Walled Lake Central: The senior scored a pair of goals in his team's 2-1 win over rival Walled Lake Northern Saturday night.
 - Matthew Manning, Brother Rice: Had a pair of goals in the Warriors' 4-2 win over Trenton, which you can watch HERE.
- Steve Erwin, Shrine: Stopped all 18 Bishop Foley shots he faced in his team's 6-0 win Friday night.
- Connor Gaffney, Catholic Central: One of six different Shamrocks to score in a 7-1 win over Warren De La Salle Saturday night. Gaffney had two.
- Austin Movinski, Cranbrook: Picked up the shutout in his team's 2-0 win over St. Mary's Saturday. He made 21 saves.
- Austin Sereno, Waterford Mott: Scored once in each period for his hat trick in a 7-5 win over Walled Lake Western Saturday night.

Poll results
In our latest poll on - Which Oakland County hockey team has the best chance of winning a state championship? - Birmingham Brother Rice edged out Cranbrook as the team most likely to capture it all.