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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.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Another week of hockey in the books

Amy O'Rourke and family prepare for the
ceremonial puck drop before Saturday's game.
Kind of hard to imagine, but the season seems to be about two-thirds over for most teams. I think the holiday break throws things a little out of whack, at least for my winter season timing.
This past week was an emotional one over at West Bloomfield. I wrote a feature story about Saturday's benefit game for the family of fallen West Bloomfield police officer Patrick O'Rourke. The entire Laker hockey family went the distance to make the event special, complete with a number of activities including a silent auction, raffle and baked good sale. The team also did a lot of pregame fundraising itself, as each player wore a business-sponsored jersey with the name "O'Rourke" on the back.
Event organizers said they raised more than $6,500, which will go to the “Officer Patrick O’Rourke Family Trust.” Oh, and by the way, West Bloomfield beat Troy Athens, 7-4.

Birmingham Unified getting in on the action, too
The Kings will be hosting a pair of charity games this upcoming weekend (JV and varsity). The doubleheader, which includes a 7 p.m. JV game against Clarkston, followed by a varsity matchup against Oxford, will help support Common Ground, a nonprofit agency dedicated to helping youths, adults and families in crisis.
The players sold t-shirts in advance - more will be available at the game. There will also be a 50/50 raffle. All proceeds from the game will be donated to Common Ground.

MAC/OAA Showcase matchups announced
The fourth-annual showcase is set for Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Onyx Ice Arena in Rochester. As has been the case, the one-day event will pair teams from each county against each other based on the most recent USHSHO rankings (from this weekend). The matchups are listed below, with their seeding in parenthesis.

Rochester United (1) vs. Macomb Dakota (1), 8 p.m. on Rink 2
Farmington Hills Unified (2) vs. Eisenhower (2), 6 p.m. on Rink 2
Clarkston (3) vs. Romeo (3), 4 p.m. on Rink 2
Farmington (4) vs. Utica (4), 2 p.m. on Rink 2
Birmingham Unified (5) vs. Marysville, noon on Rink 2
Berkley-Ferndale (6) vs. Anchor Bay (6), 10 a.m. on Rink 2
Lake Orion (7) vs. St. Clair Shores Unified (7), 7:45 p.m. on Rink 1
Stoney Creek (8) vs. L'Anse Creuse (8), 7:15 p.m. on Rink 3
Oxford (9) vs. Fraser (9), 5:45 p.m. on Rink 1
West Bloomfield (10) vs. L'Anse Creuse North (10), 5:15 p.m. on Rink 3
Troy Athens (11) vs. St. Clair (11), 3:45 p.m. on Rink 1
AH Avondale (12) vs. Chippewa Valley (12), 3:15 p.m. on Rink 3
Bloomfield United (13) vs. Stevenson (13), 1:45 p.m. on Rink 1
Royal Oak (14) vs. Port Huron (14), 1:15 p.m. on Rink 3
Troy (15) vs. Warren-Mott (15), 11:45 a.m. on Rink 1

New year, new team
If there's a hotter team in the OAA since Jan. 1 than Rochester United, let me know. The team is 4-0-1 since returning from the holiday break and has outscored its opponents 30-7 in those five games. Rochester tied Walled Lake Northern 4-4, then beat Oxford 10-2, Lake Orion 2-1, Farmington 5-0 and St. Clair Shores Unified 9-0 in succession.
Mike Pelino (12 points), Max Harper (9) and Kevin Kurzeja (9) have scored five goals each in those games, while Alex Shell (8) and Tony Nassar (9) have three and two goals each. Brody Blair and Kyler Patenaude have topped 68 of their last 71 shots in goal.

Big games on tap
Each week there are big games on the schedule. And this week is no different. The above-mentioned Rochester United squad has a chance to clinch at least a share - and an outright OAA Red title - with a pair of big games this weekend. Rochester will play Birmingham Unified Friday (8 p.m.) at the Onyx, and then Stoney Creek Saturday, also at the Onyx, at 8:30 p.m. One win clinches a share (with Farmington Hills Unified). Two wins clinches an outright title. Rochester is 4-1 in league play. The Flyers are 4-1-2 - having lost to Rochester earlier this season.
On Saturday, Lake Orion and Clarkston will square off at the Detroit Skating Club in their traditional rivalry game, at 8 p.m. The teams are currently tied for fourth place in the OAA Red - though Clarkston has a game in hand. This game is big for seeding purposes for the league tournament in a few weeks. It will also be broadcasted (live audio, delayed video) by us here at MIPrepZone. Stay tuned for more details.
Some other big games this week include Walled Lake Western-Lakeland (last time they met, they tied 4-4) on Wednesday; Walled Lake Central-Walled Lake Northern (playing for the Medieval Cup, Central won 2-1 back in December) on Saturday; Catholic Central-Brother Rice (what else is there to say about this rivalry) Friday; West Bloomfield-Berkley-Ferndale (first place may be up for grabs for the two best teams in the OAA White) on Saturday.

Thanks for reading this update. I'll be back by Tuesday to highlight some great performances from this past week and provide links to all our hockey coverage, which you can see by clicking on our HOCKEY HOME PAGE HERE.

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