D2 Preview: Familiar Opponents Reconvene at USA Hockey Arena

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

March 9, 2022

This weekend’s Division 2 Hockey Finals bracket includes three teams back from last season and a fourth that missed making that trip but is plenty used to finishing up at Plymouth’s USA Hockey Arena.

Reigning champion Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice plus 2021 semifinalists Marquette and Trenton will be back for Thursday’s Semifinals, joined by top-ranked Hartland as it seeks its first championship since winning back-to-back in 2018 and 2019.

SEMIFINALS – Thursday, March 10 
Hartland vs. Marquette, 5 p.m.
Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice vs. Trenton, 7:30 p.m.

FINALSaturday, March 12 11 a.m.

Tickets cost $13 for both Semifinals (per session) and Finals and are available exclusively from GoFan. All Semifinals and Finals will be streamed live on MHSAA.tv and viewable with subscription, with free audio broadcasts via the MHSAA Radio Network.

Below is a glance at all four Division 2 contenders taking the ice this weekend. Click for the full program.

14-13-1, No. 4
Championship history: Six MHSAA titles (most recent 2021), two runner-up finishes.
Coach: Kenny Chaput, sixth season (104-47-9)
League finish: Fourth in MIHL North 
Best wins: 3-1 over No. 3 Livonia Stevenson, 5-2 over No. 6 Trenton, 3-0 over Division 3 No. 3 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, 5-2 over Division 3 No. 7 Calumet, 3-2 over Division 3 No. 4 Houghton, 3-2 over Division 3 No. 6 Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood, 4-2 over Division 3 No. 10 Grosse Pointe South.
Players to watch: Andrew Marone, jr. F (12 goals, 18 assists); Peter Rosa, jr. F (26 goals, 18 assists); Matthew Herb, sr. D (1 goal, 11 assists); Luke DuCharme, sr. D (3 goals, 13 assists).
Outlook: Brother Rice is back after winning its first title last season since 2017, and has put together another solid run after starting this winter 4-7 while matching up with many of the state’s top programs. Marone, Rosa and Herb all are returning all-state first teamers, and DuCharme made the second team last season. Senior forward Luke Washe (11 goals/5 assists) and junior forward Jack Cassidy (8/10) also are among top contributors on the offensive end.

23-5, No. 1 
Championship history: Division 2 champion 2018 and 2019, runner-up 2013 and 2014. 
Coach: Rick Gadwa, 11th season (230-66-13)
League finish: First in Kensington Lakes Activities Association West and overall
Best wins: 3-1 and 3-0 over No. 3 Livonia Stevenson, 7-2 over No. 7 Canton, 3-1 over No. 6 Trenton, 4-3 over No. 4 Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice, 5-2 (Quarterfinal) and 7-3 over No. 10 Byron Center, 3-2 over No. 5 Muskegon Mona Shores, 3-0 over Division 1 No. 7 Rockford, 3-1 and 2-1 over Division 1 No. 2 Brighton, 6-3 over Division 1 No. 5 Saginaw Heritage.
Players to watch: Ashton Trombley, sr. F (19 goals, 16 assists), Jack Paweski, sr. F (18 goals, 13 assists), Ben Pouliot, jr. F (11 goals, 19 assists), Lucas Henry, jr. F (13 goals, 17 assists).
Outlook: Hartland has played plenty of top teams on the way to returning to the Semifinals after missing last season; in addition to the results above, the Eagles also have wins over Division 3 powers Calumet, Houghton and Orchard Lake St. Mary’s this winter. Juniors Braden (11 goals/17 assists) and Brendan Pietila (9/19) are two more major offensive contributors as the team has scored four or more goals in 15 games including all three during the postseason. Senior Kameron Ragon has a 1.31 goals-against average and four shutouts in goal.  

22-5-1, No. 2
Championship history: Five MHSAA titles (most recent 2008), four runner-up finishes.
Coach: Doug Garrow, ninth season (162-67-13) 
League finish: Tied for first in Great Lakes Hockey Conference 
Best wins: 7-1 over No. 9 Traverse City Central in Quarterfinal, 4-3 over No. 4 Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice, 3-1 over No. 5 Muskegon Mona Shores, 7-2 over Division 1 No. 10 Lake Orion, 2-1 over Division 1 No. 5 Saginaw Heritage, 5-0 and 7-3 over Division 1 No. 9 Traverse Bay Reps, 3-1 and 9-1 over Division 3 No. 4 Houghton, 3-1 over Division 3 No. 7 Calumet.
Players to watch: Kody Moyer, fr. F (19 goals, 15 assists); Brayden Grange, sr. D (15 goals, 22 assists); Jacob Garrow, jr. F (12 goals, 24 assists); Joe DeMattia, jr. D (8 goals, 14 assists).
Outlook: This will be Marquette’s fourth-straight trip to the Semifinals, and after another impressive run not only through the best of the Upper Peninsula but against downstate powers as well. Senior defenseman Owen Riipi (4 goals/15 assists) made the all-state second team last season, and DeMattia earned an honorable mention. Junior forward Ethan Phillips (12 goals/11 assists) and sophomore forward Caleb Fries (10 goals) also have put up double-digit goals, and senior forward Drew Dellies (9/23) is among 10 with double-digit assists.

17-11, No. 6
Championship history: 14 MHSAA titles (most recent 2014), eight runner-up finishes.
Coach: Chad Clements, eighth season (143-73-7)
League finish: Tied for second in MIHL South, first in Downriver League
Best wins: 5-3 over No. 7 Canton in Quarterfinal, 7-5 over No. 5 Muskegon Mona Shores, 4-2 over No. 10 Byron Center, 3-2 over Division 3 No. 10 Grosse Pointe South, 2-1 over Division 3 No. 2 Warren De La Salle Collegiate, 2-0 over Division 1 No. 3 Salem. 
Players to watch: Nickolas Fields, sr. F/D (13 goals, 16 assists); Hayden Oboza, sr. F (20 goals, 26 assists); Micah Kneidling, jr. F (6 goals, 27 assists); Zach Anderson, sr. F (15 goals, 16 assists).
Outlook: Trenton is running its Semifinals streak to five seasons as part of a strong stretch of eight wins over 10 games – and after starting this winter 2-5. Fields earned an all-state honorable mention last season and is one of eight Trojans with at least 14 assists; he teams with senior Xaver Gradinscak (2 goals/18 assists) as the top defense pairing. Senior forward Matthew Krueger (14 goals, 15 assists), junior forward Carter Allen (10/8), junior defenseman Jacob Wiseman (9/15) and senior defenseman Aaron Brow (9/14) also have shown plenty of scoring touch.

PHOTO Marquette's Caleb Fries (9), Joe DeMattia (4), goalie Wylen Cambensy, and CJ Carter (16) and Houghton's Jace Deforge get ready for a faceoff in Marquette's zone during their February matchup. (Photo by Cara Kamps.)