By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
PLYMOUTH – Detroit Catholic Central had one way in mind it hoped to finish this season’s MHSAA Hockey Finals at Compuware Arena.
And the Shamrocks had one opponent in mind to end against.
DCC wanted a rematch with Brighton, the two-time Division 1 champion and opponent that kept the Shamrocks from the title a year ago.
They got their wish – and their first MHSAA title since 2010 – with a 5-1 win over the Bulldogs in Saturday’s final championship game.
“We came in and we wanted to play Brighton,” DCC senior defenseman Carter Cerretani said. “We know we didn’t have the biggest team. But we definitely had the fastest, and we had to utilize that speed. Going in, we knew the crowd was going to be big. But we had to act like it was any normal game.”
Detroit Catholic Central (24-7) already had beaten Brighton once this season, 4-3 in the former’s second game and the latter’s opener this winter.
But the Shamrocks wanted a rematch where it counted most after falling 2-1 in the 2013 Final.
They dominated at the start, with junior Ryan Burnett and then Cerretani (off a Burnett assist) both scoring during the game’s first five minutes. Then DCC dominated on the check, frustrating the Bulldogs’ offense and allowing only 19 shots after giving up exactly twice that many in last season’s championship game.
“We had a handful of boys in the locker room who remembered that feeling,” said first-year DCC coach Doug Itami, who formerly served as an assistant. “We had a purpose.”
And the Shamrocks also capitalized when Brighton provided opportunities, scoring three power play goals and a fourth into an empty net with 2:32 to play. One of those power play goals came with a 5-on-3 advantage and another came just after another 5-on-3 ran out but before the Bulldogs had killed the second penalty.
Still, Brighton did have hope after senior Danny Bosio scored off a rebound on a power play 5:48 into the second period to make the score 2-1. The Bulldogs also had trailed Detroit U-D Jesuit 2-0 in the Semifinal before coming back to win 4-3 in overtime.
“We love to go down 2-nothing and then come back,” said Brighton coach Paul Moggach, tongue-in-cheek. “We’ve got the same attitude that we can come back. When we got that first goal, we thought we had momentum. But we didn’t sustain it the way we needed to.”
Senior Domenic Mancinelli put DCC up 3-1 with five minutes left in the second period, and then Cerretani and Burnett both added their second goals of the game to round out the scoring in the third.
Junior Mitch Ossowski assisted on three of the Shamrocks’ goals, and junior Spencer Wright allowed just the one, with 17 saves in goal. In a touching moment at the end, the trophy was presented on the ice to senior Matt Sorisho, a standout on last season’s team who was paralyzed from the waist down during a travel league game this fall.
Junior goalie Jimmy Milletics, another star of the 2013 Final, made 27 saves for the Bulldogs, who finished 23-7-1 but graduate a strong group of nine seniors who have played big parts over the last two seasons.
“It’s a loss in the biggest game of the season, and it’s not fun losing like that,” Brighton senior Aaron Sturos said. “Just being on this team, this is a heck of a team. We’re all really close, having fun out there, so it will be tough to leave.”
PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Catholic Central celebrates one of its five goals Saturday in the Division 1 Final. (Middle) DCC athletic director Aaron Babicz presents the championship trophy to senior Matt Sorisho (18).
HIGHLIGHTS: (1) DCC’s Ryan Burnett gets the first goal of the Division 1 Final at the 3:54 mark of the opening period. (2) With a two-man advantage on a power play, Detroit Catholic Central gets its second goal of the finale from Carter Cerretani. (3) The Bulldogs got their only goal on the power play at the 5:48 mark of the second period from Danny Bosio. (4) About 6 minutes later, DCC counters with another power play goal by Domenic Mancinelli to take a 3-1 lead.
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.
That’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.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.