PLYMOUTH – Grosse Pointe Woods University Liggett played sharper hockey at times this season on its way to beating six of the top 10 teams in Division 3.
But the Knights did everything necessary this weekend to finish No. 1 at Compuware Arena.
They needed 17 minutes to get on the scoreboard Saturday. But junior James Counsman scored twice during the second period and junior Jacob Soyka added one more goal in the third as University Liggett downed No. 4 Houghton 3-0 to win its first MHSAA title since 1990.
“I had visions of trotting out my show ponies and having them be perfect. Coming out like the Globetrotters. But I think we made things hard on ourselves and were a little tight at times,” University Liggett coach Robb McIntyre said. “But I think that in turn is what shows we’ve got an extremely deep team that works really very hard. We found different ways to win all year long.”
Knights freshman goaltender Lucas Soyka notched the 23rd shutout in MHSAA Finals history, stopping all 17 Houghton shots. Total, University Liggett (27-3) outscored its six playoff opponents by a combined score of 41-5.
Houghton’s appearance this weekend was its third trip to at least the Semifinals in the last 11 seasons – and first to a championship game since 1995. The Gremlins finished this winter 24-5.
“This will be big for our team,” Houghton coach Corey Markham said. “The underclassmen got a taste of how special this is to make this run, and they’ll be hungry to try to get back. It’s a real nice stepping stone for our team, something for us to build on.”
PHOTO courtesy of Hockey Weekly. University Liggett's Jacob Soyka (21) sends his third-period goal past Houghton goaltender Tony Peltier.
Join Jonathon Kidd and Sean Baligian for the another edition of State Champs! Hockey Time.
1:36 - Recap from last week in High School Hockey
5:46 - Warrior Hockey Wall Award Update
7:09 - Coaches' Corner - Dane Baruzzini - Novi
9:33 - Hockey Time "Flow Challenge" Update
13:31 - Warrior Hockey Player of the Year Update
15:01 - D3 Showcase and MIHL-KLAA Showcase Preview