Brighton Earns Finals Revenge over DCC

March 11, 2017

Second Half reports

PLYMOUTH — Logan Neaton needed time in the midst of a wild championship celebration to process the events of an entire year.

It was 365 days earlier that Neaton and his Brighton hockey teammates were beaten by Detroit Catholic Central, 3-0, in the MHSAA Division 1 championship game.

From the moment the Bulldogs stepped off the ice at USA Hockey Arena that night, everything they did was designed to get back there and write a different ending.

Brighton completed its mission with a 5-2 victory over three-time reigning champion Catholic Central in the season’s final game Saturday night.

Neaton, normally not one to show his emotions during a game, leaned back over the crossbar and looked to the rafters of USA Hockey Arena in the final minute after Jake Crespi’s empty-netter made it apparent the Bulldogs would win their fourth MHSAA title.

When the clock hit zeroes, Neaton wound up in a pile with his teammates, got himself out, jumped against the glass to celebrate with the student section, then went to the faceoff circle and had a moment to himself face down on the ice.

"It's been a year to the day since we lost," said Neaton, who made 31 saves Saturday and allowed only four goals in six postseason games. "You just represent so much more than yourself. You're representing all the boys who came before you, who came so close and couldn't get it done. Everyone in your city, we just had so much support throughout the year. So many people instilled so much in us and put so much of their time and effort in us. To do that for them and do it for the boys last year and everyone who came before us is unbelievable."

Brighton (24-6-1) lost in the 2014 and 2016 Finals to Catholic Central after beating the Shamrocks for the 2013 title.

The Bulldogs also won in 2006 and 2012. Brighton and Catholic Central have crossed paths in four of the last five MHSAA Finals. The Bulldogs beat the Shamrocks twice this season after doing so only once in 11 previous meetings.

"They've always been the benchmark," Brighton coach Paul Moggach said. "They're the team to beat for a lot of years. We've struggled to beat them. This year we beat them twice, which we've never done before. We just keep working hard and trying to be able to compete with them. Now we're on the map, as well."

Brighton stormed out of the gates, jumping to a 2-0 lead in the first 2 minutes and 23 seconds on goals by Keith Wikman and Spencer Gehres.

Junior Adam Conquest, who played for Brighton as a freshman before returning to travel hockey as a sophomore, extended the lead to 3-0 with a shorthanded goal 43 seconds into the second period.

Conquest had a goal and two assists.

“It feels amazing,” Conquest said. “I didn’t play last year, but watching them from up in the stands I regretted not playing. I could have helped them out. This year, I joined. It’s an unreal experience beating C.C.”

The Shamrocks (22-8-1) made a game of it, as Brendan West scored twice in the second period to cut the margin to 3-2 heading into the third.

“We felt like if we got the second (goal), we had a lot of faith that we were going to get the third,” Catholic Central coach Brandon Kaleniecki said. “You have to keep them off the boards. When they got their fourth, that was a killer blow for us.”

Gehres gave Brighton some insurance when he deflected in a shot by Conquest with 11:44 left in the game. An empty-netter by Crespi with 1:08 remaining left no doubt that this was Brighton’s year.

There was some doubt just a couple weeks earlier as to whether or not the Bulldogs would be celebrating with the championship trophy. Brighton went 1-4-1 in its last six regular-season games, but was missing players.

"You need adversity to understand where you're at and get you pumped up a little bit more," Moggach said. "They reacted well. We had some injuries and illness in there, too. Not for excuses, but we all realized we had the makings of a good team."

It was only the fifth time in 18 trips to the MHSAA Finals that Catholic Central took home the runner-up trophy.

“We’re just incredibly proud as a coaching staff of how they competed to the very end,” Kaleniecki said.

Click for the full box score.

PHOTOS: (Top) Brighton goalie Logan Neaton stops a Detroit Catholic Central shot Saturday evening. (Middle) Spencer Gehres dumps in a Brighton goal during the Division 1 Final. (Click to see more at

Traverse Bay Reps Teammates Unite to Take on Great Lakes Paddle Board Pursuit

By Tom Spencer
Special for

August 3, 2023

Twenty years ago, Kwin Morris and Jeff Guy were teammates on an MHSAA Quarterfinal-qualifying hockey team.

Made in Michigan is powered by Michigan Army National Guard.Guy even scored the winning goal in the Regional Final for Bay Area Reps, which topped Traverse City West 2-1.

This summer’s accomplishment, though, will go deeper in the history books.

Guy and Morris teamed up with Joe Lorenz to complete a dream that started a decade ago. They crossed all five of the Great Lakes on paddle boards while raising awareness and funds for water quality.

They put their balance, endurance and stick-handling skills together for the cause.

‘After 10 years and over one hundred grand raised for the lakes, it feels amazing,” Morris said. “I think the best part is knowing my kids will grow up knowing their old man did something cool for the environment in a unique way.”

It all started at a December social event in Traverse City. Guy, a financial adviser, and Morris, a middle school science teacher, had just gotten into paddle boarding when they began to wonder if they could cross Lake Michigan.  

Lorenz, a personal trainer, promptly gave assurances they could — and joined them — even though he had never been on a paddle board prior to the holiday gathering.

Morris, Guy and Lorenz successfully crossed Lake Michigan in 2015, pausing in the cold of the night to look at the Northern Lights.  They finished the nearly 100-kilometer journey in just under 25 hours. That accomplishment convinced them to launch Stand Up for Great Lakes, a non-profit organization to raise money and awareness for the protection of the lakes.

The trio also is supporting the Cooperative Institute for Great Lakes Research, a non-profit housed at the University of Michigan.

“It feels amazing to have finished crossing all five lakes and complete a lifelong goal,” Guy acknowledged. “The dollars and awareness we have raised is incredible, and hopefully it continues to grow.”

Lake Huron was the toughest to cross by far, the former Reps noted. The 90-mile, 29-hour paddle brought seven hours of rain and high waves.

“Plus Joe knocked me in and Jeff fell in after catching a fish,” Morris observed.

Ontario was the team’s second-hardest challenge and the shortest paddle. Huge waves from the side all day took quite a toll on the paddlers, who were accompanied by safety boats on each crossing.   

Lake Superior featured glassy water, a spectacular sunset and the paddlers pausing to conduct a ceremony over the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck. The northernmost Great Lake ranks as the group’s favorite.

Guy, Morris and Joe Lorenz take a photo together on the lake shore. Guy graduated from Kalkaska High School in 2003 and went on to play hockey at Hope College. He also played football, baseball and golf for the Blazers. He and his wife, Melissa, have a daughter, Emma.

Morris graduated in 2005 from Elk Rapids High School, where he also played baseball. He went on to get a teaching degree from Western Michigan University. He and his wife, Megan, have two children, Fitz and Knox. He now works for his former school district, teaching science.

The pair played for the Reps through a co-op hosted by Traverse City St. Francis that included athletes from Charlevoix, Elk Rapids, Kalkaska, Kingsley, Lake Leelanau St Mary, Mancelona and Suttons Bay. The Reps’ first coach was Michigan High School Hockey Coaches Association Hall of Fame inductee Rex Luxton. He coached through 2008.

Morris and Guy look back at their high school playing days and coach with fondness.

“We had some great teams, and I think I still have the career goal record there,” Guy recalled. “Also, our coach on the Reps Rex Luxton was highly motivational to me while playing for him and later in life.”

Morris echoed Guy.

“I loved the whole experience,” Morris said. “Playing for my high school … Friday night games … school rivalries … playing for Rex Luxton … amazing friends and teammates — almost surreal that it will have been 20 years.”

The former coaching staff of the Reps are not at all surprised Morris and Guy challenged themselves to make a difference for the Great Lakes.

The coaching staff remembers Guy as a natural scorer coming through with big goals, and Morris as a strong two-way player who scored five goals in one period in Sault Ste. Marie. The past coaches also remember all the traveling the two did for practice and games because of the geographic nature of the squad.

“I had no idea they had any interest in the water kind of stuff,” Luxton said of his former players’ feat. “When I started following their bid to raise awareness, it didn’t surprise me they would attempt something like this.

Morris accepts a medal during the 2004-05 season.“I think it illustrates how much determination they have and how much hard work they were willing to put in,” he continued. “It is just outstanding, particularly with the cold weather in the Great Lakes.”

Cody Inglis, a senior assistant director for the MHSAA, was an assistant coach for the Reps during all of Morris and Guy’s time with the co-op. He finds himself beaming with pride and happiness knowing these former players are giving back and making it a better world.

“What Jeff and Kwin have done physically and mentally to cross all of the Great Lakes on stand-up paddle boards is remarkable in itself,” Inglis pointed out. “When you add in the fact that they have put in charitable causes and the preservation of the Great Lakes as a reason for doing it – it makes it even more special.

“It’s not surprising given my recollection and remembrances of Jeff and Kwin, as they were really good hockey players and better people.”

High school hockey is where Morris and Guy’ friendship blossomed. Spending 24 or more hours together — and with Lorenz — has forged a greater lifetime bond that already had included being a part of each other’s weddings.

But they admit they had no inkling of this type of accomplishment back in high school.  

“Sports were the most important thing in my life in high school,” Guy revealed. “Working really hard to win as many games as possible was the main goal – along with getting good grades and trying to get into a good college.”

But teamwork, learned on the ice and through other high school sports, can make anything possible.

“Any sport where you have to work as a team helps push yourself out of your comfort zone,” Morris concluded. “That's where the best things in life happen.”

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PHOTOS (Top) Clockwise from top left: Jeff Guy celebrates a goal while playing for Traverse Bay Reps with Kwin Morris to his left, Guy (left) and Morris (right) take a photo after one of their paddle board trips, and Morris bringing the puck up the ice for the Reps. (Middle) Guy, Morris and Joe Lorenz take a photo together on the lake shore. (Below) Morris accepts a medal during the 2004-05 season. (Photos courtesy of Jeff Guy, Kwin and Jo Morris.)