In a Michigan Public High School Hockey Showcase (MPHSHS) matchup at the Arctic Coliseum in Chelsea on Thursday afternoon, Skyline stepped up to the challenge against a strong Brownstown/Woodhaven (16-5) team, and came away with a solid 6-4 victory to improve to 16-4 on the season.
Ryan Schmunk got the Eagles on the board first when he buried a nice pass from captain Ryan VanDiepen just 6 minutes into the opening period. Unfortunately, the Warriors came back to tie it up 1-1 just 2 minutes later as they capitalized on Skyline being unable to clear their zone. A strong performance by freshman netminder Tommy Letke held the Eagles in the game as Brownstown/Woodhaven generated a lot of quality chances. Had it not been for the stellar play of young Letke, the Syline icers would have definitely been down by 2 or 3 goals at the end of the first period. As it was, the period ended tied at 1-1.
The second period again was the Eagles’ golden egg as they ramped up their potent offense, outscoring the Warriors 3-1. Junior winger Noah Bradburn got the Eagles going with a highlight reel goal a little over two minutes into the period. Bradburn gathered a pass from defenseman Kotoba Nakamura at the Warrior blue line, slipped the puck past the first D, did the same thing to the second defender, then made an impossible shot on a diving effort to send the puck bar down over the hapless Warrior netminder to get the lead back 2-1. Bradburn followed up midway through the period while on the power play, burying a quick shot off the faceoff that was won cleanly by Isaac Lippert to give the Eagles their first 2 goal lead of the game. The Warriors pushed back when they scored less than 30 seconds later to get back into the game 3-2. Captain Ryan VanDiepen got the 2 goal cushion back when he chipped in a gritty backhander after getting the pass from defenseman Henry Hescheles. The period ended with Skyline up 4-2.
The third period saw more of the dynamic Skyline offense as they cashed in two more times to put the game out of reach. Sophomore center Isaac Lippert proved once again that speed kills when he cashed in on a short-handed goal while Schmunk was in the box serving a roughing penalty. Lippert put the jets on when the puck squirted by a Warrior defender trying to hold the puck in the Skyline zone, and went in on the goalie uncontested. As he rarely misses in these situations, it was a mere formality for him as he snapped the puck past the beleaguered netminder to make it 5-2 Skyline. Three minutes later, CJ Bahr cashed in on another Skyline powerplay when he sent a low shot through traffic from just inside the blueline to make it 6-2. But with 11:56 left in the game, there was still time for the Warriors to get back into the game. And that is precisely what they did. With 8:25 left, they found paydirt as they ramped up their effort and shook the cobwebs out of their heads to make it 6-3. But try as they might, the Eagles’ defense shut them down, and they weren’t able to score again until there was under 3 minutes left in the game to make it 6-4. The comeback was too little too late, and the Eagles hung on for the win.
Skyline was due to play again on Friday, but the game was cancelled due to the weather. If there are no more weather delays, the Eagles will be playing the Farmington Falcons (9-7-5) at 1:30 on Sunday 2-11.