PLYMOUTH – The score of the game might as well have been 50-0 the way the hockey team and its leading scorer Mackenzie MacEachern played Thursday night at Compuware Arena.
It wasn’t as much a semifinal game as target practice for the Warriors in a 5-0 win over Forest Hills Eastern.
MacEachern wowed the crowd with four goals to put his team in the Division 2 finals for the second straight year.
“Did they have more than one player wearing No. 19?” Forest Hills Huskies coach Todd Gallup said, referring to MacEachern’s jersey number.
The senior put Brother Rice on the board less than 30 seconds into the game with his first goal (:27). He scored again on a on a nice one-timer from Ross Haffey during a power play in the second period (2:57), and completed the hat trick in the third with a slap shot that was almost unfair.
MacEachern fired a laser from the middle of the right circle, sending the puck right under the cross bar on the goalie’s stick side. The Warriors’ student fan section let him know what they thought of the goal with loud chants of “Mr. Hockey.”
“The best teams and the best players have to play their best in the big games,” Brother Rice Coach Lou Schmidt Jr. said. “(Mackenzie) showed up today and played his best.”
He added a fourth goal in the third period (9:45) with an assist from line-mate Thomas Ebbing in a situation where the Warriors were actually shorthanded.
On a breakaway, Ebbing hit MacEachern with a beautiful pass after getting the goalie to commit to his side. All MacEachern had to do was tap the puck in.
“I want to call it (our penalty kill) one of our best kept secrets,” Schmidt said. “Thomas and Mac are such good penalty killers, they know how to find each other. I mean, you saw the pass at the end, that’s happened all year long. They probably have 15 shorthanded goals this year.”
The Warriors outshot the Huskies 36-6, but the numbers don’t really do it justice. Forest Hills didn’t really have a single solid scoring opportunity the entire game. The Huskies struggled to even get the puck across the blue line.They had a man advantage three times in the third period and only managed to get one shot off.
The Warriors haven’t dropped a game since a 4-2 loss to Detroit Catholic Central back on Dec. 21. They’ve won 20 of their last 21 games.
After the win on Thursday, MacEachern and Ebbing both said last year’s 4-1 loss in the finals to Wyandotte Roosevelt has fueled the team all year.
“It’s been on my mind since the day we lost it,” MacEachern said. “The day after we were already talking about next year. I think we started working out two days later.”
Brother Rice plays the winner of Grosse Pointe South and Port Huron Northern in the finals Saturday morning.
Notes - MacEachern finished the game with five points. He assisted on Brother Rice's lone other goal with teammate Andrew Roye. Ebbing scored it in the second period (8:24) on a power play.