D2 Preview: 2019 Final 4 Back for More

March 11, 2020

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

Last year, we previewed the Division 2 Semifinal bracket by discussing the contenders’ familiarity with each other as three of four teams returned from the season before.

This year, the only change is that they probably know each other even better.

Reigning champion Hartland, runner-up Trenton and 2019 semifinalists Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice and Marquette all will be back at USA Hockey Arena again this weekend, with Hartland and Trenton actually having faced off for the past two Division 2 championships – both won by the Eagles. This time, they’ll see each other in a Semifinal on Thursday.

This weekend’s pairings are as follows:

Division 2 – Thursday
Hartland (19-6-2) vs Trenton (22-6-1), 5 p.m.
Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice (21-6-2) vs. Marquette (24-4), 7:30 p.m. 

FINALS – Saturday
Division 2 - 11 a.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.

BIRMINGHAM BROTHER RICE
Record/rank: 21-6-2, No. 2
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2017), two runner-up finishes.
Coach: Kenny Chaput, fourth season (76-30-8) 
League finish: First in Michigan Interscholastic Hockey League North.
Best wins: 9-1 over No. 7 Lake Orion in Regional Final, 6-1 over No. 10 Plymouth, 3-0 over No. 3 Trenton, 4-2 over No. 4 Hartland, 4-2 over Division 1 No. 3 Brighton, 5-2 and 2-1 over Division 1 No. 1 Detroit Catholic Central, 3-1 and 7-3 over Division 1 No. 6 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.
Players to watch: Nick Marone, sr. F (32 goals, 16 assists); DJ Dixon, sr. F (18 goals, 32 assists); Ryan Murphy, sr. F (22 goals, 36 assists); Nick Dippre, sr. D (6 goals, 16 assists).
Outlook: This will be Brother Rice’s fourth-straight Semifinals, and the Warriors are looking to break through for their first championship game appearance since winning the 2017 title. Talented veterans are showing the way, including Marone, a first-team all-stater last season, and Dixon after making the all-state second team in 2019. They are only two of a variety of scoring threats, including senior Dylan McNulty (10 goals, 10 assists) and junior Max Brown (10, 17) among 12 players total with 15 or more points. If Rice can get past Marquette in the Semifinal, it beat both of the teams it could see in the championship game during the regular season.

HARTLAND
Record/rank: 19-6-2, No. 4
Championship history: Division 2 champion 2018 and 2019, runner-up 2013 and 2014. 
Coach: Rick Gadwa, ninth season (188-59-12) 
League finish: Second in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West.
Best wins: 6-3 over No. 10 Plymouth, 4-3 over No. 9 Canton, 4-2 over Division 1 No. 7 Howell, 5-1 over Division 1 No. 6 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s.
Players to watch: Andrew Larson, jr. F (14 goals, 8 assists); Dakota Kott, sr. D (10 goals, 17 assists), Adam Pietila, jr. F (22 goals, 17 assists); Kieran Carlile, sr. F (9 goals, 22 assists).
Outlook: The path to a possible third-straight championship has seen Hartland outscore its four postseason opponents by a combined 24-5, with a 3-2 Regional Final win over Davison the only game decided by a goal. The Eagles graduated some serious star power after last season’s title, but opened this winter with six straight wins and also have defeated four of the top six ranked teams in Division 3. Kott earned an all-state honorable mention last season.  

MARQUETTE
Record/rank: 24-4, No. 5
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2008), two runner-up finishes. 
Coach: Doug Garrow, seventh season (125-56-12) 
League finish: Third in Great Lakes Hockey Conference.
Best wins: 5-2 over No. 6 Traverse City Central in Quarterfinal, 7-1 over No. 7 Lake Orion, 4-2 over No. 9 Canton, 4-0 over Division 3 No. 1 Calumet.
Players to watch: Gaetanno Cammarata, sr. F (17 goals, 19 assists); Cooper Anderson, sr. F (13 goals, 16 assists); Dylan Baldwin, jr. F (13 goals, 14 assists); Jakob Peterson, sr. D (12 goals, 25 assists).
Outlook: Marquette is enjoying its winningest season under Garrow, which has included its third Regional title under his leadership and now second-straight trip to the Semifinals. The Redmen have won 14 of their last 15 games, their lone defeat during that time to Hancock before coming back to then finish the regular season with a 3-1 win over Division 3 No. 6 Houghton. Cammarata earned all-state honorable mention last season and is the leading scorer of seven with double-digit goals. In addition to those mentioned above, junior Ansel Frost has 10 goals (and 19 assists), junior Evan Kroll has scored 13 and sophomore Cole Ranta has 11. Goaltenders Liam Beerman, a freshman, and junior Brennan Hakkola have split time nearly evenly in net and posted a combined 1.44 goals-against average.

TRENTON
Record/rank: 22-6-1, No. 3
Championship history: Fourteen MHSAA titles (most recent 2014), eight runner-up finishes. 
Coach: Chad Clements, sixth season (113-54-7) 
League finishes: Third in MIHL South, first in Downriver League.
Best wins: 5-1 over No. 1 Livonia Stevenson in Quarterfinal, 4-2 over Division 1 No. 6 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 3-2 and 2-0 over Division 3 No. 2 Grosse Pointe South.
Players to watch: Joey Cormier, sr. G (1.66 goals-against average, .941 save %); Nick Millhorn, sr. F (18 goals, 13 assists); Hunter Allen, jr. F (16 goals, 25 assists); Ethan Holt, sr. F (20 goals, 19 assists).
Outlook: After back-to-back runner-up finishes, Trenton is aiming to send 11 seniors out with the program’s first championship since 2014. The Trojans defeated top-ranked Stevenson to get back to USA Hockey Arena, and they own a 3-3 tie against Hartland from early this season. Trenton also has one of the state’s finest in net, as Cormier was an all-state second-teamer as a sophomore and made the first team last season. Holt joined him last year, making the first team at forward.

PHOTO: Marquette's Joseph Luke (14) deflects a shot past the Escanaba goalie during a December win. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)

Brother Rice's Rosa Relishing Final Run with High School Hockey

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

January 26, 2023

If the Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice hockey team ends up winning the Division 2 championship in March, it could be said that the journey to that title started in August with an offer he wasn't ready to accept.

Greater DetroitThat’s when senior Peter Rosa who was coming off an all-state season last year as a junior — went to Louisiana to train for a few days with the Shreveport Mudbugs, a team in the North American Hockey League. 

Rosa said at that point he was already wanting to come back to Brother Rice for his senior season, but given how he impressed the Mudbugs coaching staff during that camp, it didn’t stop Shreveport coaches from trying to change Rosa’s mind after they informed him he had a roster spot if he wanted it. 

“They wanted me there,” Rosa said. “They said, ‘Are you sure you don’t want to come develop here?’"

But Rosa stuck with his original intentions, saying thanks, but no thanks, so he could play one final year of high school hockey. 

As a result, Rosa is already going down in the history books as one of the best to ever play for a storied Brother Rice program.

Following Tuesday’s win against Warren De La Salle Collegiate, Rosa has 22 goals and 25 assists in 17 games for the Warriors this winter.

He is No. 2 on the school’s all-time points list with 116, although he likely won’t be able to catch leader Mackenzie MacEachern, who had 154 points during his time at Brother Rice.

However, odds are good that Rosa will be able to overtake MacEachern’s record of 65 goals scored in a career, since Rosa currently is at 59. 

Rosa is a versatile 5-foot-10, 175-pound offensive stalwart who can play center and both wing positions. 

Rosa raises his stick in celebration after scoring Rice's first goal in the eventual 4-2 loss. When Brother Rice lost to Trenton in a Division 2 Semifinal last year, Brother Rice head coach Kenny Chaput said odds were good at the time that it would be the last time he would coach Rosa.

“I was fully planning on that being his final game with us,” he said.

Rosa went to Shreveport following the season to practice and meet the team in what was his first encounter with the Mudbugs before going back in August.

But throughout the summer, Chaput, through conversations with Peter’s dad and Brother Rice assistant coach Todd Rosa, had an inkling that Peter preferred to play at Brother Rice for his senior year.

Once the official word came from Peter at the beginning of the school year that he was coming back, there was a challenge for Chaput. 

Given Rosa was good enough to play at junior level, it was tempting for coaches to feel they didn’t have anything left to teach Rosa in high school. 

“I had to make sure I went above to push him so he doesn’t get stale with things,” Chaput said. “It’s still a challenge because he gets things done that a lot of other kids don’t. But there’s tweaks in his game that he still needs to do, so we’ll continue to push him the best we can. Obviously, we didn’t want him to have a year where he didn’t get pushed and he didn’t progress.” 

With Rosa in the fold, Brother Rice is an obvious contender to win its second Division 2 title in three years. 

“I don’t think there’s anything like playing for your school and for your classmates,” said Rosa, who said he’s not sure yet if he’ll play in Shreveport or for another junior team after he finishes high school. “Having the benefit of hanging out with kids in school all day, and then coming to practice with them and playing with them, I’ve built relationships with many kids on the team that I wouldn’t trade anything for. I’ve had a great experience.”

Even worse for opponents is that after the loss to Trenton in that Semifinal, Rosa is motivated for redemption. 

“That’ll leave a pretty bad taste in your mouth,” Rosa said. “I just felt like I had some unfinished business.”

If that business ends up being finished, opponents will sure wish those Shreveport coaches could’ve changed Rosa’s mind in August. 

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at keithdunlap78@gmail.com with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties.

PHOTOS (Top) Brother Rice's Peter Rosa gains steam on a rush during last season's Division 2 Semifinal against Trenton at USA Hockey Arena. (Middle) Rosa raises his stick in celebration after scoring Rice's first goal in the eventual 4-2 loss.