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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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Let the (hockey) games begin

Now that the mid-season hockey showcases have finished, it's time to get down to the business of determining league championships. The OAA Red Tournament kicks off Friday night at the Farmington Hills Ice Arena. The Catholic League Championships will take place Saturday at Joe Louis Arena.

OAA Red Tournament
Quarterfinals (Friday at FH Ice Arena)
Game 1: #1 Rochester United vs. #8 Birmingham Unified, 8:15 p.m.
Game 2: #4 Clarkston vs. #5 Farmington, 8:30 p.m.
Game 3: #3 Stoney Creek vs. #6 Oxford, 5:45 p.m.
Game 4: #2 Farmington Unified vs. #7 Lake Orion, 6 p.m.
Semifinals (Saturday at Birmingham Ice Arena)
Winners of Games 1 and 2, 6:30 p.m.
Winners of Games 3 and 4, 4 p.m.
Championship game (Feb. 23 at Detroit Skating Club)
Semifinal winners, 8 p.m.

Catholic League Championships
Saturday at Joe Louis Arena (Tickets $6)
Division 2 championship
Riverview Gabriel Richard vs. Royal Oak Shrine, 4:30 p.m.
Division 1 championship
Birmingham Brother Rice vs. Orchard Lake St. Mary's, 7 p.m.

Big-time teams, big-time game on tap
The top two teams in the state - regardless of division - will face off for the second time this season on Friday night. Brother Rice will travel to Wallace Arena to take on Cranbrook. The teams are a combined 35-4-4. The two teams have a lot in common. They have each lost to Hill Academy (Ont.) and Catholic Central. And they tied 2-2 in their first meeting back in December.
A win by the Cranes will all but seal a MIHL championship. Brother Rice needs a win and some help from De La Salle or Trenton to beat or tie the Cranes. The puck is expected to drop at 7:15 p.m. I plan on being there. You should, too.
The game will double up as a fundraiser for Beaumont Hospital's Student Athlete Healthy Heart Check Program. The program is dedicated to saving the lives of student athletes by providing them with free heart screenings to identify undetected heart problems.

Congratulations are in order
Walled Lake Central wrapped up the KLAA North Division title last week. The Vikings are 5-1-5 in league play (15 points). Their lone league loss came to Hartland - ranked No. 8 in Division 2.

And some more props
Longtime Trenton head coach Mike Turner picked up career win No. 600 over the weekend at the MIHL Showcase. Already a MHSHCA Hall of Famer, Turner's teams have won 10 state championships, while finishing runner-up four more times. Four players have won the Mr. Hockey award playing for Turner.

Top performances from this past week
- Connor Moesta, Lake Orion: Scored a pair of goals and totaled four points in his team's 8-3 win over Livonia Franklin at MPHSHS in Chelsea. His teammates Nolan Page (two goals) and Drew Casey (four points) also came up big.
- Jimmy Wallington/Stephan Fritz, Oxford: Had two goals and an assist each in the Wildcats' 6-2 win over Lakeland Sunday.
- Cooper McLean, Farmington: Netted a hat trick in the Falcons' 9-2 domination of Walled Lake Northern Sunday. Nick Heffron finished with a goal and four assists in the victory.
- Austin Sereno, Waterford Mott: Notched four goals to lead the Corsairs past Port Huron, 6-4, Saturday night.
- Chris Bradley/Ryan Bradley, Royal Oak Shrine: The two combined for two goals and five assists to lead the Knights to a 5-1 win over Otisville-Lakeville on Saturday.
- Ryan Burnett, Catholic Central: Had a pair of goals to lead the Shamrocks past Notre Dame Prep (Wis.), 6-3.
- Nathan Grathwohl, Country Day: Stopped 18 of 19 shots to lead his Yellowjackets past Grand Rapids Catholic Central at the MIHL Showcase.
- Alex Alger, Cranbrook: The senior had a pair of goals in the Cranes' 4-3 shootout win over Notre Dame Prep (Wis.). He also scored in the shootout.
- Ryan Mulka, Detroit Catholic Central: Made 18 saves in leading the Shamrocks to a 2-1 win over Upper Canada College at the MIHL Showcase Saturday.
- Jacob Saroli, Birmingham Unified: Stopped 30 of 32 shots he faced in the Kings' 3-2 shootout win over Warren De La Salle Saturday. Teammate Adam Susalla notched a pair of goals in the victory.
- Tyler Manasco, South Lyon Unified: His redirection in overtime gave his team a 3-2 overtime win over Stoney Creek Sunday at the MPHSHS in Chelsea.
- Joe Nagle, Royal Oak Shrine: Had a hat trick to lead the Knights past Notre Dame Prep, 8-4, and into this weekend's CHSL Division 2 championship game at Joe Louis Arena.
- Brad Merola/Nathan Gurzell, Troy Athens: Combined for three goals and four assists in the Red Hawks' 5-3 win over Royal Oak.
- Ian Marchand, Troy Athens: Had a hat trick to lead his team to a 6-0 win over Fraser.
- Nick Heffron, Farmington: Mustered up a hat trick, while teammate Marc Nahat scored the other two goals in the Falcons' 5-3 win over Marquette.
- Derek Moore, Catholic Central: Stopped all 11 shots he faced in a 3-0 win over Grosse Pointe North.
- Ross Haffey, Brother Rice: Had a pair of goals and two more assists in the Warriors' 5-0 win over De La Salle. Nicholas Macina picked up the shutout in goal for the Warriors.
- Alex Alger/Austin Alger/Billy Young, Cranbrook: The trio combined for five goals and 13 points in 7-2 win over Wyandotte 


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