Two of the state’s premiere high school hockey programs battled Friday night as Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School skated to a 4-1 win against host in the .
Friday’s game between Trenton (14-3-1-1) and St. Mary’s (10-7) came in day three of action in the four-day showcase, which is taking place at Trenton’s .
Now in its 12th year, the showcase, which runs Feb. 8-11, features 39 schools from Michigan and Canada squaring off on all three of Kennedy’s ice rinks. In attendance each day have been several scouts who, by attending the event, have had a chance to evaluate some of the best prep talent in the area.
Brian Klanow, who has been the St. Mary's head coach for 11 seasons, said the showcase is always a top-notch event.
“It’s always very well-run, Klanow said. “(There) a lot of good teams, a lot of good competition, a lot of scouts.”
The game between St. Mary’s and Trenton on Friday was one of the more anticipated contests of the 2012 showcase, as both of the two MIHL foes have been very successful in recent years.
Since 2000, the Trojans have captured five Division 2 state titles and finished runner-up once. During that same time period, the Eaglets have won two Division 1 state championships and finished .
As the puck dropped Friday, Trenton grabbed a quick 1-0 advantage, but was then unable to ever add to that total.
Trojans junior defenseman Zac Cunningham scored at 1:12 of the first period, but it was the last time the puck got past Eaglets senior goaltender Austin Julvezan, who stopped the next 23 shots he faced.
St. Mary’s sophomore forward Nick Carbone, who scored two goals Friday, said a strong positive attitude among his teammates kept the Eaglets from being disheartened by the early deficit.
“Everyone was supporting each other," Carbone said. “We were keeping each other’s heads up, making sure nothing went bad and no one said anything negative.”
With less than three minutes left in the first period, Carbone netted his first goal of the night and tied the game.
Eaglets senior defenseman Jordan Kutek opened the second period by giving his team a one-goal lead with a shot past Trenton senior goaltender at the 2:18 mark. Wojtala is currently in the running for the State Champs! high school hockey player of the year.
About five minutes after Kutek’s goal, St. Mary’s extended its lead as Carbone struck again, putting the Eaglets up 3-1.
In the third period, St. Mary’s sophomore defenseman River Rymsha capped the scoring for the night with an unassisted goal at 13:55.
Trenton senior forward Michael Lesko said his team knew it was in for an intense battle with the Eaglets, but unfortunately came up short Friday night.
“We were expecting the high speed, the high tempo (and) physical play, but it just sucked we couldn’t match it,” Lesko said.
With the showcase coming to an end tonight, Trenton head coach Mike Turner said the team has enjoyed serving as host once again and that he is optimistic guests will want to return for another year.
“We hope everybody comes to Trenton and has a good time and they leave with good memories of how they were treated here, and (we) hope they’re looking forward to coming back here in the future,” Turner said.
Both teams play on Kennedy’s main rink today as the showcase comes to a close. Trenton takes on Marquette at 2:40 p.m. and St. Mary’s plays Warren De La Salle at 6:40 p.m., which is the last contest of the day.
All-day hockey action starts up at 8:20 a.m. today and tickets for the event are $6 for adults and $4 for seniors and students.
Parking is available at the Kennedy Recreation Center for $3. Free parking is available with free shuttle service from the West Road and Charlton parking lots at Trenton High School, and .
News and information about the showcase, including a complete schedule, and a list of participating teams, can be found at the MIHL Prep Hockey Showcase website.