Ice hockey

Brighton hockey unseats powerhouse Catholic Central for title

Senior Logan Neaton stood tall in goal Saturday night stopping 31 of 33 shots as Brighton High School earned its fourth boys hockey state title in school history, unseating three-time defending Division 1 champion Novi Detroit Catholic Central, 5-2, at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.

It was the third MHSAA finals meeting between the two state powers, with CC winning last year, 3-0, and Brighton prevailing in 2013, 2-1.

CC (22-8-1), gunning for its 13th title, was unable to dig itself out of an early hole as the Bulldogs (24-6-1) scored on two of their first three shots.

Just 52 seconds into the game, Brighton’s Keith Wikman scored from Spencer Gehres and Joey Martini followed by a Gehres rebound goal from Adam Conquest and Brody White at 2:23.

Just 43 seconds into the second period, Conquest took advantage of a CC giveaway, and scored on a two-on-one with a wrist shot for a shorthanded goal between the circles from White and Martini.

CC got on the board at 6:01 of the same period when Brendan West scored on a power play on a wrap-around from Zachary Sprys-Tellner, trimming the deficit to 3-1.

The Shamrocks carried the play in the second period, out-shooting Brighton, 14-3, but still trailed by two goals.

And just 44 seconds into the third, CC cut the deficit to 3-2 on Brendan West’s goal from Michael Considine and Jared Lee.

But after being under heavy pressure, Conquest fired a shot from the point, and Gehres redirected it on backhand from mid-air to make it 4-2 for the Bulldogs with 5:16 left.

The Shamrocks pulled goalie Sean Finstrom with just over 2 minutes left, and Brighton’s Mr. Hockey candidate, Jake Crespi, scored on an empty netter with 1:08 left.

Novi Detroit Catholic Central’s Ethan Ervin, center, dives toward the puck in front of Brighton's Matthew Kahra.

Novi Detroit Catholic Central’s Ethan Ervin, center, dives toward the puck in front of Brighton’s Matthew Kahra.

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