The Saginaw Heritage HS boys hockey team, currently ranked No. 2 in the MHSAA coaches association division-I poll, improved to 4-0 on the season with an impressive 9-1 mercy victory over No. 12 Grandville Calvin Christian HS at Saginaw Bay Ice Arena in Saginaw Township tonight.
Heritage coach J.J. Bamberger has his undefeated Hawks off to a very productive start against a tough schedule so far this year, having only given up three goals this season; a power play goal in a 7-1 revenge victory over defending state champs Brighton in the opener, a power play goal against Forest Hills Northeast, and a power play goal against a young Grandville team playing with a depleted lineup tonight, as the schedule will remain tough with the Saginaw Valley League opener against Midland Dow next week.
“Well, (Grandville) is down right now, I think they only had something like twelve skaters tonight,” Bamberger said. “We've only given up a few goals this year and I think they've all been power play goals, so we're trying to play the toughest competition we can play, but we know they're not all going to be eight to one or nine to one games. But, we have (Midland) Dow coming up on Wednesday and we're getting ready for this really tough schedule.”
Hawks' senior defenseman Joe Watson opened up the scoring with assists coming from junior's Matthew Cole and Brady Rappuhn for a 1-0 Heritage lead at 11:06 of the first period, before Rappuhn added a power play goal from senior's Edison Symons and Parker Severson at the 13:36 mark, giving the Hawks a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Grandville responded with a power play goal by senior defenseman David Besaw early in the second period to cut the lead to 2-1, while Rappuhn buried his second of the night from Symons and Cole for a 3-1 Heritage lead at 6:23 of the second period, before Heritage senior Jacob Best scored with an assist coming from fellow senior Matthew Moretuzzo for a 4-1 Hawks lead at 12:30 of the second period.
Heritage junior William Schmidt lit the lamp next for the Hawks with an assist from Watson just past the midway point of the middle frame for a 5-1 lead at the 13:15 mark of the second, while senior David Helpap went down to one knee and roofed a power play goal from Severson and Symons at 15:34 of the second period, giving the Hawks a 6-1 lead heading into the second break.
Rappuhn picked up the hat trick with his third goal of the night just 2:08 in the final frame for a 7-1 lead, while Moretuzzo scored to make it an 8-1 game on an assist from sophomore Eathan Houck just 29-seconds later at the 2:37 mark, before Severson ended the game with his second of the night on a feed from Helpap for the 9-1 mercy victory at 4:09 of the third period.
Despite not seeing much action early in the game, Heritage senior goal tender Jack Jesko was able to dial in when needed, putting together a stellar night in between the pipes for the Hawks tonight.
“(Jesko) is older, more mature, and focused,” Bamberger said of his goal tender managing to keep his head in the game when not seeing many shots. “You know, this year it's the same as last year. I think last game our goalie only faced like three or four shots in the second and the third period, and (Heritage assistant coach) Scott Turner keeps him focused pretty well, talking to him throughout the game.”
Grandville will look to regroup for its next game against Forest Hills Northeast at the Griff's Georgetown Ice Center in Hudsonville, MI one week from today, while Heritage is set host Midland Dow in the SVL home opener right back here at Saginaw Bay Ice Arena for a 7 pm face off on Wednesday night.
Video of Heritage coming off the ice after the second period against Grandville tonight: