Even after starting the season with 10 straight wins, Novi Detroit Catholic Central coach Danny Veri said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Shamrocks were tripped up one of these nights.
“We play a really hard schedule, and we would be very naïve to think that we’re not going to have some hiccups,” he said. “Even if it’s a team that might not match up against us, we’ve got targets on our back — they’re always bringing their ‘A’ game when they’re playing us, for sure.”
The defending Division 1 state champions saw their win streak end Saturday night, but at least they didn’t lose, playing Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook to a 1-1 draw at Compuware Arena in Plymouth Township.
Saturday’s contest was a battle of top-ranked teams, with the state coaches’ association giving the nod to Catholic Central in Division 1 and to Cranbrook in Division 3. And by all accounts, the game was as good as advertised, although the teams couldn’t settle things after an eight-minute overtime.
Even though Cranbrook (10-1-1) controlled the flow throughout the first period, the Shamrocks (10-0-1) got the early edge five minutes into the second when Ryan Burnett hammered home a shot from the point, with Mitch Ossowski and Blake Veri drawing the assists.
Novi Detroit Detroit Catholic Central’s Nick Macari goes for the puck against Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood’s during the first period of their tie Saturday at Compuware Arena.
Catholic Central outshot Cranbrook, 13-5, in the middle period, but goalie Spencer Applebaum was reliable for the Cranes.
“We had 21 days between games, and in the second period our guys were a little flat-footed,” Cranbrook coach Andy Weidenbach said. “They had us surrounded, they had the pressure on. Applebaum came up big in the second to keep us in the game and gave us an opportunity to tie it up in the third.”
That’s just what happened with four minutes to play, when Jack Blumberg took a feed from C.J. Regula deep in the CC zone and went top-shelf for the equalizer.
“Jack’s an offensive defenseman; he can jump up in the play, and when he gets the puck he can be dangerous,” Weidenbach said. “He’s got a good shot, he’s played forward in the past. … He’s usually pretty good with the puck. He got a good break up the middle and caught them a little off guard and was able to bury it.”
The Shamrocks had more opportunities as the game wore on — outshooting Cranbrook 29-11 after the first period — yet they couldn’t push one more past Applebaum.
Veri said the tying goal deflated his players because they felt they had “let it get away.”
“We knew we played a great team that was coached extremely well, and a simple mistake like that, a simple little turnover can end up in your net,” he said. “We got caught. They’re a great team, they’re going to capitalize on it.”
Spencer Wright stopped 21 of 22 shots for the Shamrocks.
“I thought both goaltenders were sensational, and they stopped everything they could see,” Weidenbach said.