It’s a long way from the Upper Peninsula for Sault Ste. Marie to play one game at Plymouth’s Compuware Arena, so the Blue Devils made sure they’d have a two-game weekend — for the second year in a row.
In a battle of Saints, the Blue Devils pulled away from Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central, 6-2, in the first Division 3 state semifinal Friday. Sault Ste. Marie will play Farmington in today’s final.
“You look around and see fans that made the long journey again this year to support us — it’s great,” Blue Devils coach John Ferroni said. “Yes, you definitely want to make it two games.”
Sault Ste. Marie lost a close one in the finals last year to Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook.
“I think we should be a little more relaxed tomorrow than we were last year,” Ferroni said. “At the end of that game, we thought maybe we should have pushed the offense a little bit more, so this year we’ve kind of been an offensive group. We did hit a stretch we played too much offense and were forgetting about defense, but we’ve kind of gotten back to that. So I think we’ll be more comfortable this year on both ends.”
Sault Ste. Marie (25-2-2) shot double figures on goal in every period while holding St. Mary (19-9-2) to single digits for each; ending with a 44-22 margin. Each team was successful at killing a 5-on-3 power play: for the Blue Devils late in the second period and St. Mary late in the third.
Sault Ste. Marie scored the first three goals, by Chase Gamelin in the first period, followed by back-to-back goals from William Gauthier to open the second. St. Mary followed with a goal at 9:09 by Elijah Owens to make it 3-1. The Blue Devils scored almost immediately at 10:08 by Benjamin LaCross, but that goal was answered by St. Mary’s Drew Antonelli just 17 seconds later.
“We were working on some quick strikes through the middle, and that seemed to be working, so we stuck with that,” Gamelin said about the early offense.
Sault Ste. Marie put the game away late in the third with goals again from Gamelin and Gauthier for a hat trick. Gamelin assisted on all three Gauthier goals.