Cranbrook-Kingswood teammates Sam Miletic (left) Chris Brown (center) and Austin Alger celebrate Brown’s goal at the 14:24 mark of the second period in their 5-2 win over Catholic Central Friday night. (For The Oakland Press/KEN SWART)
Hockey - Boys
HOCKEY: Cranbrook trio trumps the Shamrocks WITH TOUT VIDEOS
BLOOMFIELD HILLS - Teams attempting to beat Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood this season will have three things to deal with - three big obstacles - if they hope to be successful and have a chance to knock of the defending Division 3 state champion.
Christopher Brown. Austin Alger. And Sam Miletic.
Novi Detroit Catholic Central failed to stop any one of the three Friday night in a matchup of undefeated teams at Wallace Ice Arena. Miletic registered a hat trick and the three combined for five goals and 11 points in the Cranes' 5-2 victory over the (Division 1) No. 1-ranked Shamrocks.
"We just came out, worked real hard and played our game," said Miletic, who now has 12 goals and 19 points in six games played this season. "It's a lot of fun (with Alger and Brown) playing the game we love. Playing with these guys makes the game easy. I give all the credit to them. They do a great job each game."
Catholic Central scored the first and last goals of the game, the first coming on the power play, as senior Carter Cerratani's one-timer off a pass from junior Ryan Burnett gave the Shamrocks a 1-0 lead with 8:38 left in the first period. The Shamrocks would continue to take it to the Cranes for most of the next six minutes, until Miletic came up with a big goal to tie things up and send the game in another direction.
Senior Noah Gilreath and Alger assisted on the goal.
Cranbrook would score the only three goals of the second period - all by their first line - to separate it from Catholic Central. Brown, Alger and Miletic would team up to give their team a 2-1 lead minutes into the period, with Brown tipping in a shot past Shamrock goalie Spencer Wright (23 saves). Miletic followed that up just two minutes later to make it a 3-1 game.
"The second and third goals for them were back-breakers," Catholic Central coach Doug Itami said. "They were back-to-back and took us out of the game real quick. We lost a little momentum. We lost a little passion."
Cranbrook not only took that momentum from the Shamrocks, but carried it forward. Alger scored on the power play later in the second period to make it 4-1. Skating in on a 3-on-2 break, junior Jack Blumberg kicked it out to Alger, who skated in on Wright and flip in a shot top-shelf.
The Cranes scored nine minutes into the third to make it 5-1. Miletic scored to finish his hat trick. Brown and Alger picked up the assists.
"They're special. They play well. They're great hockey players," Cranbrook coach Andy Weidenbach said of his top line. "But even more important, they're good people and they're fun to coach. They're a coach's dream for sure. They lead by example. They can walk the walk, and talk the talk."
Cranbrook improved to 8-0 with the win, 2-0 in the MIHL North Division. The Cranes are the No. 1 team in Division 3.
It was the first defeat suffered by Catholic Central (6-1), which also received a goal from senior Connor Gaffney with 1:38 left in the game. Despite the loss, Itami said he wasn't totally displeased with what he saw out of his team Friday night.
"We did some good things," the first-year Shamrocks coach said. "We just need to stay out of the box and stick to it. We're not happy with what happen. We'd like to win. But this is good hockey for us. This makes us better."
Jason Schmitt covers high school hockey for The Oakland Press. Email him at email@example.com, read his "In The Zone" blog here and follow our high school hockey coverage on Twitter @MIPrepZone.BLOOMFIELD HILLS CRANBROOK-KINGSWOOD 5,
NOVI DETROIT CATHOLIC CENTRAL 2
CC 1 0 1 - 2
CK 1 3 1 - 5
First period: 1, CC, Carter Cerretani (Ryan Burnett); 2, CK, Sam Miletic (Noah Gilreath, Austin Alger)
Second period: 3, CK, Christopher Brown (Alger, Miletic); 4, CK, Miletic (Brown); 5, CK, Alger (Jack Blumberg)
Third period: 6, CK, Miletic (Brown, Alger); 7, CC, Connor Gaffney (Cerretani)
GOALIES - Catholic Central, Spencer Wright (23 saves); Cranbrook, Spencer Applebaum (27 saves)
RECORDS - Catholic Central 6-1 overall, 2-1 MIHL North; Cranbrook 7-0 overall, 2-0 MIHL North