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HOCKEY: Brother Rice needs OT to knock off St. Mary's for Catholic League title WITH VIDEO

DETROIT — Birmingham Brother Rice will remember its first appearance in the Catholic High School Division One Finals.

With just 1:06 left in the overtime period against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, the Warriors notched a 4-3 win to capture its first CHSL Division One Championship at Joe Louis Arena Saturday night.

“It was anybody’s game,” Brother Rice head coach Lou Schmidt said. “There were a lot of momentum shifts in the game, but it really could have gone either way.”

Brother Rice senior forward Russell Cicerone created the late opportunity as Orchard Lake St. Mary’s tried to clear the puck into the Warriors end. Cicerone took the puck from the neutral zone all the way and fired a hard wrist shot that dribbled under Eaglets’ sophomore goaltender Will Ulrich. As the puck lay near the line, senior Chandler Gillespie quickly pushed it into the net before St. Mary’s could recover the puck for a 4-3 win.

“It’s a tough loss,” St. Mary’s head coach Brian Klanow said. “Our kids were right there. It was a pretty even game, we just didn’t get the breaks we needed to.”

After the Eaglets got on the board with 4:56 left in the second period off a goal by junior forward Dieon Mueller to make it 3-1, the momentum was firmly on the Eaglets’ side.

“From that point, we really buckled down and pressured the puck and turned into goals,” said Klanow.

A 1:35 into the third, St. Mary’s used its forecheck to really create rushes towards the net against junior goaltender John Bowman. After Bowman turned away the initial offering, senior forward Michael Muller grabbed the loose puck in front of the net and cut into the Warriors’ lead with a 3-2 goal.

Midway through the third while the Eaglets were on the power play, sophomore forward Cooper Marody finished off another scrum in front of the net to tie the game at 3-3.

“After the first goal, we were deflated for a little bit,” Schmidt said. “We were just playing on our heels at that point, before we changed the momentum back and score in overtime.”

Cicerone, who spurred the overtime goal also helped the Warriors jump out early with his forechecking creating an odd man rush.

With 9:04 into the first period, the Warriors stuck first. Senior forward Russell Cicerone used his aggressive forechecking in the neutral zone to create a two-on-one odd man rush. As Cicerone sprinted down the ice, and entered the Eaglets’ zone, he decided to keep the puck and fired a wrist shot from the just outside the left circle to the short side of the net to make it 1-0 Warriors.

7:07 into the second period the Warriors would strike again on another odd man rush created a scrum in front of the net. Sophomore Eaglet goaltender Will Ulrich turned away the initial offering, but senior Ross Haffey found the loose puck and put in the rebound attempt to make it 2-0.

With 6:44 left in the period Rice would strike again after intercepting a clear attempt by St. Mary’s. Sophomore forward Matthew Manning intercepted the puck in the right circle and sent a cross-ice pass to fellow sophomore Connor Jean to put in the easy goal to make it 3-0.

The win gave Brother Rice its first ever CHSL Division One Championship, which according to Schmidt is a testament to his players and how hard they’ve worked.

“It’s great for the school and our kids,” said Schmidt. “They’ve worked real hard to build a great record with nothing to really show for it. But now that we’ve won our first, it can act as a catalyst to more in the future because we have a nice young group of hockey players, and we’re able to compete at the highest level”

Last season after winning the Division Two State Championship, Brother Rice reclassified themselves to Division One and will face a familiar opponent on Feb. 25 in the pre-regional’s against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.

“We’ll have a week to work some things out,” Klanow said. “But, we just need to tighten down, and focus on our defense and we’ll be alright.”

“Right now whoever wants to win it more will win that game,” Schmidt added. “We’re so evenly matched that it’s going to come down to whomever shows up and plays their game. It’s going to be a battle.”



BIRMINGHAM BROTHER RICE 4, ORCHARD LAKE ST. MARY’S 3 OT

BR 1 2 0 1 — 4

OLSM 0 1 2 0 — 3

First Period:1, BR, Russell Cicerone (unassisted)

Second Period: 2, BR, Ross Haffey (unassisted); 3, BR, Connor Jean (Mathew Manning); 4, OLSM, Dieon Mueller ()

Third Period: 5, OLSM, Michael Mueller (Dakota Ulmer) 6, OLSM PPG Cooper Mardoy (unassisted)

Overtime: 7, BR, Chandler Gillespie (Cicerone)

Goalkeepers: OLSM, Will Ulrich (28); BR, John Bowman (26)

RECORDS — Brother Rice 18-2-2-1; St Mary’s 13-10-1-1

Last Updated: 2/17/2013 12:22:21 PM EST

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