Are the big boys back?
Since falling to Division 2 #1 Livonia Stevenson (1-0) to begin the month, Catholic Central is 6-1, having outscored its opponents 33-8. And those opponents included the likes of Grosse Pointe North, Notre Dame Academy (WI), Upper Canada College, Hills Academy (Toronto) and Liggett.
I picked the Shamrocks to fall to Brother Rice - its opponent Saturday night. I'll stick to my pick, but CC has me wondering now. Having been bounced from the playoffs early the past two years, the Shamrocks are hungry.
And in Division 3, the same could be said for Cranbrook, which hasn't won a state title since 2010. I was out at Wallace Arena on Tuesday doing a video feature and looked up in the rafters at the 15 state championship banners. I was talking to some of the players. After losing to Marysville 2-1 in overtime in last year's regional final, they're focused to not let that happen again this Saturday.
And it won't.
- Troy beat Athens Wednesday night. Big win over its biggest rival. Now it's set to play its toughest opponent of the year Saturday. The Colts await the winner of Thursday's Grosse Pointe North-U-D Jesuit game. I'm hoping the team is feeling good about itself, and knows how to use the home ice to its advantage. Because whoever it faces - be it the Norsemen or the Cubs - it's going to have its hands full.
- Stoney Creek is in a similar boat. The Cougars are facing a stiff challenge in Grosse Pointe South. They've been playing some pretty good hockey of late. And they'll need to keep it up against the Blue Devils, a state semifinalist last year. For anyone wanting to catch an early regional final, that game will be played Saturday at 4:15 at Great Lakes Sports City in Fraser.
- Coming off an emotional win over Clarkston on Tuesday, I'm wondering if there will be a letdown by Lake Orion Thursday night against Grand Blanc. Not to say Grand Blanc is a slouch. It's won 15 games this year. But Tuesday's win was one of the few highlights the Dragons have had this season. I'm sure they'd love to keep things going. But Thursday's pre-regional final should be a good one.
- I've seen some upsets in the state tournament over the past could years. And I think it's safe to say that if Milford somehow finds a way past Hartland Thursday night, it would fall into that category. The Eagles beat the Mavericks 6-2 back in December. A lot of time has passed since that game, but it doesn't seem like Hartland has lost a step.
- Evidently Monday's five-overtime thriller didn't take too much out of Walled Lake Northern. The Knights put a whooping on Walled Lake Western Wednesday night, 7-2. I wish I knew more detail than that, but we didn't get a call tonight.
- Royal Oak and West Bloomfield both picked up wins Wednesday night, the Ravens need OT to bump off Warren-Mott. That leaves the OAA White foes left to battle it out for a regional title Saturday at the DSC. The two teams split their regular-season series. The Ravens won, 5-4, back in December. The Lakers beat Royal Oak, 6-1, just two weeks ago. J.J. Bloom scored twice and assisted on two others in that game. WB peppered Royal Oak goalie Max Benoit with 51 shots in that game. Which Raven team will show up Saturday?
- And finally, I will be heading out to Farmington Hills Thursday night to see Country Day take on Farmington. Should be a good one. When I typed up my predictions, I based this one on how hot the Falcons were playing (8-1 in their last nine). But coming off a 7-2 win over Shrine on Tuesday, DCD is looking awfully good.