Hockey extends winning streak to six games with wins over Birmingham Unified and Northville

Matthew Mahoney

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Junior Mason Kelly propelled the hockey team to two wins in a weekend for the second time in a row, scoring a total of six goals and recording three assists throughout the two games. Just like the week before, Mason saw his goal totals go up in the second game of the weekend, but he still managed to score twice while dishing out three assists in the first game against Birmingham Unified.

After falling to 1-3 through the first four games of the season, the Rangers knew they had to pick things up in order to get where they think they can be with the talent on this year’s team. Leading up to these games, the Rangers had been on a four-game winning streak, with the FHC offense producing at least seven goals in each game. This weekend, the boys continued the winning trend, defeating Birmingham Unified 5-0 and Northville 6-4.

Before Friday night’s contest, the Kings of Birmingham Unified came in with a 5-2-1 record, including impressive wins over East Grand Rapids and South Lyon Unified. Even so, the Rangers dominated with an all-around fluid performance, making the game look easy. 

The first and third periods saw the least action goal-scoring wise, but the Rangers still managed to score a goal in each period. The second period, on the other hand, saw three FHC goals be scored. 

Defensively, the Rangers saw a fair amount of action from the Kings’ offense, but the boys managed to keep the shutout intact. Junior Gavin Brady sat between the pipes for Friday, making 22 saves on the night along with his 1.000 save percentage.

The 4-0 advantage after the second 17 minutes of play all but secured the game, and the FHC offense coasted through the final period for the 5-0 win. As has already been mentioned, Mason led the team in points with his two goals and three assists, but seniors Cole Beaufait and Ryan Jeffreys closely followed with three points each: two assists and one goal.

Saturday’s game against Northville was much different; the contest was very close until the very end, and the FHC lead never exceeded two goals. Although off to a slow start this year with a 3-7 record, the Northville Mustangs have been a renowned program on the east side of the state and often field talented teams, including the team that went 22-7 in the 2016/17 season.

The first period was one to remember as it saw a total of seven goals scored between the two teams in the first 17 minutes, the most so far this year in a period for the Rangers. Mason Kelly secured a hat trick in just the first period, and his first goal came less than three minutes into the contest via a Cole Beaufait assist. Ever since Cole’s return, Mason’s productivity has increased, and the offense appears to be running much smoother. 

Following seven minutes of no scoring after Mason’s goal, Northville scored twice within ten seconds—one on a power play, one at even strength—to give the Mustangs a 2-1 lead. Then, just 14 seconds later at the 6:48 and 6:40 mark, Mason completed his hat trick with two goals in eight seconds, with both of them assisted by Cole and Ryan.

Now with a 3-2 lead for FHC, the game did anything but slow down. Northville’s Nick McInchak scored a minute later to tie things back up, but junior Xavier Ott gave FHC the lead back 20 seconds later. In a span of two minutes, six goals were scored, and there were three for each team. No more goals were scored for the rest of the period, however, and the Rangers ended the first period up 4-3.

In the second and third periods, there was much less scoring. The lone goal to be scored in the second was from Xavier, notching his second of the night and giving the Rangers their largest lead of the game with a 5-3 advantage. 

Relatively early in the third period, Northville’s Henry Chen, the Mustangs’ most threatening player on Saturday, hit the back of the net to bring the game to 5-4 with eleven minutes to play. For the remaining time, the Rangers held stout defensively despite loads of pressure. As the Mustangs pulled their goalie late in the game, Mason scored on an empty net to secure the 6-4 victory for FHC.

With these two wins, the Rangers extend their winning streak to six consecutive victories, giving them a 7-3 record ahead of arguably the biggest game of the regular season. This Saturday, the Rangers will take on Forest Hills Northern/Eastern in a highly-anticipated matchup that saw FHC get swept last year in two very close losses. The game will take place at 5:00 PM on Saturday, December 28th at Patterson Ice Center.