D1 Preview: Title Hopefuls Begin Chase

March 7, 2019

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Two of this weekend’s Division 1 hockey semifinalists will be playing in this late round for the first time. Three of four teams left in the bracket are seeking their first MHSAA Finals championship on the ice.

And then there’s Detroit Catholic Central, top-ranked and with 13 past titles, and the favorite Rochester United, Saginaw Heritage and Traverse City Bay Reps must catch to make more history this winter.

This weekend’s pairings are as follows:

Division 1 – Friday
Detroit Catholic Central (27-1-1) vs. Rochester United (26-3), 5 p.m. 
Saginaw Heritage (27-2) vs. Traverse City Bay Reps (24-5), 7:30 p.m. 

FINALS – Saturday
Division 1 - 6 p.m. 

All Semifinals and Finals will be viewable live per subscription basis on MHSAA.tv, with live audio available on MHSAANetwork.com

Click for a full schedule of this weekend's games plus full results as they come in. Player statistics below are through the Regional round.

27-1-1, No. 1
Championship history: 13 MHSAA titles (most recent 2016), five runner-up finishes.
Coach: Brandon Kaleniecki, fourth season (101-18-2) 
League finish: First in Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League North. 
Best wins: 1-0 over No. 6 Salem in Quarterfinal, 6-0 over No. 13 Birmingham United in Regional Final, 6-0 and 5-1 over No. 3 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 4-1 over No. 4 Brighton, 1-0 over Division 2 No. 3 Livonia Stevenson, 1-0 over Division 2 No. 2 Trenton, 6-1 and 5-4 over Division 2 No. 4 Birmingham Brother Rice.
Players to watch: Joe Borthwick, sr. D (7 goals, 23 assists); Brendan Miles, jr. D (6 goals, 22 assists); Rylan Clemons, sr. F (25 goals, 28 assists); Kyle Gaffney, jr. F (20 goals, 22 assists).
After three straight titles from 2014-16, DCC has finished runner-up and then as a semifinalist the last two, respectively. The Shamrocks are primed to take back the title – the lone loss and tie both were to out-of-state schools, the defeat in the team’s third game of the season. DCC has three straight shutouts and seven over its last eight games – and 13 total this winter. Senior goalie Zach Allan – a first-team all-stater last season – has three of those shutouts and a 1.44 goals-against average in 16 games, while senior Stephen Sleva has four shutouts and a 0.82 GAA over 12 contests. Borthwick was an all-state first-team defenseman working in front of Allan last season, and Miles earned an honorable mention. Five more players had scored at least 10 goals entering the week, with junior Dylan Dooley (13 goals/20 assists) also over 30 points and senior Carter Korpi (14 goals/14 assists) among a few on the verge.  

26-3, No. 5
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA championship game.  
Coach: Bryan Kowalski, second season (37-12-5)
League finish: First in Oakland Activities Association Red.
Best wins: 4-3 over No. 3 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in Quarterfinal, 3-2 over No. 9 Macomb Dakota in Regional Final, 3-0 over No. 12 Utica Eisenhower in Regional Quarterfinal, 2-1 over No. 7 Byron Center, 4-2 over No. 8 Farmington United, 4-1 over No. 13 Birmingham United.
Players to watch: Austin Streng, sr. F (30 goals, 23 assists); Marcello Munaco, sr. F (14 goals/22 assists); Michael Zyrek, sr. F (17 goals, 25 assists); Domenico Munaco, sr. G (1.44 goals-against average, 3 shutouts).
Outlook: Rochester will be playing at the Semifinals for the first time after navigating one of the toughest postseason paths in the state – with the Dakota win avenging one of its few losses this winter. Rochester has more than doubled its win total from last season, when the team finished 12-9-5. Juniors Jack Myers (11 goals/14 assists) and Caden Ebinger (10 goals/14 assists) are two more potent scorers, while senior defensemen Niko Mantzios and Kyle Crutchfield both had 19 assists entering the week and had combined for 14 goals. 
The co-operative program includes athletes from Rochester High and Rochester Adams.

27-2, No. 2
Championship history: Division 1 runner-up 2018. 
Coach: J.J. Bamberger, 11
th season (203-86-10) 
League finish: First in Saginaw Valley League.  
Best wins: 5-2 over No. 14 Capital City in Quarterfinal, 3-2 over No. 3 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 6-1 over No. 11 Traverse City Bay Reps, 5-1 over No. 6 Salem, 7-1 over No. 4 Brighton, 6-2 over Division 2 No. 7 Davison.
Players to watch: Parker Severson, sr. F (28 goals, 25 assists); Brady Rappuhn, jr. F (24 goals, 38 assists); David Helpap, sr. F (15 goals, 30 assists); Jacob Best, sr. F (17 goals, 30 assists).
Outlook: The Hawks are now 49-7-3 over the last two seasons, with a number of standouts from last year’s first-time finalist team leading the way again. Helpap made the all-state first team a year ago, while Severson and Rappuhn earned honorable mentions and senior Jack Jesko (1.83 goals-against average) earned an honorable mention in goal. Senior Eddie Symons (19 goals/18 assists) is another veteran top scorer, and junior Matt Cole had 28 assists entering the week to go with eight goals. The only losses were to Division 2 semifinalists Hartland and Birmingham Brother Rice.

24-5, No. 11
Championship history: Has never appeared in an MHSAA Final. 
Coach: Michael Matteucci, first season (24-5)
League finish: First in Northern Michigan Hockey League. 
Best wins: 4-3 (OT) over No. 7 Byron Center in Quarterfinal, 2-1 over No. 10 Rockford in Regional Final, 5-4 over Traverse City West, 5-3 over Big Rapids, 3-2 and 5-4 over Petoskey.
Players to watch: Jake Stevenson, sr. F (30 goals, 24 assists); Christopher Deneweth, sr. D (12 goals, 23 assists); Kaleb Miller, soph. F (20 goals, 22 assists); Logan Kerry, sr. F (14 goals, 27 assists).
Outlook: Bay Reps – a cooperative of Traverse City St. Francis, Elk Rapids, Bear Lake, Kalkaska and Kingsley – will play in the Semifinals for the first time, and is riding a 10-game winning streak. Stevenson earned an all-state honorable mention last season and is one of nine seniors – five others make up two of the top defense pairs plus goalie Kamerin Lannen. Matteucci previously served as an assistant – and played in the NHL and multiple minor leagues – before taking over the program this winter.

PHOTO: Detroit Catholic Central’s Dylan Dooley works to clear the puck against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s this season.

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

By Tom Spencer
Special for MHSAA.com

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.)