Hockey prepares for Regional Finals

As the regular season comes to a close, the Boys’ Hockey team is gearing up for playoffs. Hoping for good results, they are working hard on and off the ice to make sure they can have a good run.

With a few tough games and injuries behind them, the team is ready to turn it around and prove that they have winning the championship in them. 

Going into the first round, Captain Tyler Sikkenga ‘23 is leading the team in points (32), assists (14), and goals (18). In addition to Sikkenga, Brady Ross ‘25 has been a shining star and a great new addition to the pioneer’s roster. Ross has climbed into the top 5 in points (16), and assists (11), as he established himself as a key player on the top line. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the boys successfully pulled off their first win of the playoff season against the knights of Kenowa Hills. Ian Mackeigan ‘24 put two pucks in the back of the net, along with Oliver Owen ‘25 scoring one goal bringing the team to a 3-1 win. Prior to their first playoff game, Sikkenga got a suspension for a brawl caused in their game against Rockford. As one of the team’s most valued players was out for the start of playoffs, this made other players on the team feel more of an urge to bring their team success.  

“It felt great winning the game against Kenowa Hills especially with Tyler Sikkenga out because I felt the need to step up for the team,” Mackeigan said. 

To progress in playoffs, the boys will need to defeat Forest Hills Northern Eastern which hasn’t been done yet this year. The team has faced the “birddogs” twice this year which has ended in games that haven’t been pleasing to the players or crowd. However, the boys are hoping for the “third times the charm”. 

“It’s important to win this game because we are playing for the seniors so they can continue playing and we love this group and want to continue playing with them as long as we can,” Scotty Millman ‘24 said, “we know we are the better team we just need to play a complete game against them”. 

With a finally healthy team, the boys are feeling good about where they’re headed. Coming back from an injury is Henry Cuff ‘24, who is excited to be back on the ice after a few months. Despite injuries, Cuff says the team remains hopeful and tight-knit through it all. 

“Even though our team dynamic has struggled with all the injuries and sickness, everyone on the team’s still close friends and has tried to be positive,” Cuff said. 

Last year, the team won the regional championship and took a hard loss to Midland Dow in the state quarterfinals. This year the team wants another chance to win themselves a wooden mitten. 

“We’re hoping to make a run at states and win it all, we’ll have to be on our game and strong mentally to do that,” Cuff said.

The team has faith in their training and they all agree that they need to stay focused for their upcoming games within the next couple of weeks. With high hopes, the boys will face Catholic Central on Wednesday, Mar. 1, which is the regional finals.