BU Hockey Picks Up Four Wins On The Road


Chadwick Cole

Seaholm senior forward Ian Pesta picks up the puck and skates through the neutral zone in transition versus Bloomfield Hills on January 13.

Kings vs. Mona Shores 1/7

He was flying down the ice.

Being two goals behind, this was finally the Kings’ chance to take the lead. They were running out of time to complete the comeback versus Mona Shores on January 7. The Birmingham Unified (BU) Kings began a four game road trip with a weekend trip for two games in Muskegon versus Mona Shores and Reeths-Puffer.

The Kings began the third period versus Mona Shores, trailing 4-2 with goals from Seaholm senior forwards Jacob Hessen and Jonathan Cloutier.

The comeback was sparked by a power play goal scored by Groves senior forward Sam Ruszkowski assisted by Seaholm junior forward Kaz Villaire about five minutes into the third.

“I got into a good position in front of the net and received a pass from Kaz Villaire from behind the net. It was a quick catch and release. I buried a wrist shot high glove side,” Ruszkowski said.

Ruszkowski’s goal brought the Kings within one goal with plenty of time to play.

“You could definitely feel the momentum swing in our favor. I think everyone really dug down and gave it their all in those last ten minutes to try and come back,” Ruszkowski said.


Following a turnover on a power play, Groves senior defenseman Kelton Carr backchecks the Bloomfield Hills opponent as he looks to take a shot on January 13. (Chadwick Cole)

With eight minutes left, Groves senior forward Lukas Nies cycled the puck down into the corner intended for Groves senior defenseman Kelton Carr, where Carr saw senior forward R.J. Carrel rush toward the net.

“I threw the puck to the net hoping RJ could get a stick on it, but it snuck in low short side under the goalie’s pad. After I scored, we had all of the momentum and I felt that we were going to capitalize on more opportunities,” Carr said.

The opportunity came on a power play for Seaholm senior forward Ben Catlin with five minutes remaining in regulation.

“I picked up the puck in the neutral zone and split the defense. I skated to the slot and sent a wrist shot into the bottom left corner of the net. I turned around and celebrated with the boys, everyone was super hype,” Catlin said.


Seaholm senior forward Ben Catlin splits the defenders versus Bloomfield Hills on January 13. (Chadwick Cole)


Kings vs. Reeths-Puffer 1/8

The Kings carried this energy into their next game the following day versus Reeths-Puffer High School. They got off to a hot start with a goal from Cloutier with just over seven minutes remaining in the first period. Catlin passed the puck from the corner to Carr at the center of the blue line.

“I was screening the goalie in front and Kelton made a hard pass to my stick and I tipped the puck through the goalies 5-hole,” Cloutier said.

Reeths-Puffer tied the game at 1-1 late in the first, but the Kings bounced back in the second with another goal from Catlin.

“The energy was great going into the game coming off a big win versus Mona Shores,” Catlin said. “For my first goal, my line mate Kaz Villaire brought the puck into the zone and blasted past the defender. He made a nice pass to give me a shot back door and I buried it.”

Groves senior forward Lukas Nies finds space and fires a shot at the Bloomfield Hills goal on January 13. (Chadwick Cole)


Nies scored early in the third to put BU up two goals, but Reeths-Puffer managed to bring it back to 3-2. With time winding down, Catlin found himself with an opportunity to put the game away.

“We were on a power play with a little under six minutes left in the third. I was at the top of the circle on the left side and I got a pass from Kelton. I ripped a wrist shot into the top right corner,” Catlin said.

Seaholm senior forward Ben Catlin glides past the defenseman towards the Bloomfield Hills goal on January 13. (Chadwick Cole)

This goal capped off a four point performance for Catlin versus Reeths-Puffer with two goals and two assists. Through this point in the season (1/8), the Seaholm senior has sixteen points, eleven goals, five assists, through ten games.


Kings vs. Rochester United 1/10

Coming off two wins in Muskegon the boys were ready to faceoff in a big league matchup versus Rochester United. At the end of the first the score was 1-1 thanks to a goal from Catlin. The score remained tied until less than one minute left in the second, when Seaholm senior defenseman Carson Wood ripped a pass to Seaholm senior forward Jacob Hesen.

“I got the pass and I skated up the left side. I faked to the defender outside, cut in, and took a shot. The puck ended up going just above the goalie’s shoulder in the top right corner. The momentum was unstoppable after this and we buried them with another two goals in the third,” Hesen said.

The first of these two goals came less than a minute into the period by way of Cloutier on a breakaway.

“The puck got flipped over a Rochester United defenseman’s head and I was in the clear with heavy pressure from behind. I made a head fake on the goalie and shot it glove side about waist high because he had his glove high and pad low,” Cloutier said.

Seaholm senior forward Ben Catlin collects the puck and gets ready to make a move on the Bloomfield Hills defenseman on January 13. (Chadwick Cole)
Catlin added his second of the night before Rochester scored again to make the final score 4-2.

Kings vs. Bloomfield Hills 1/13

The final game of the road trip came on January 13 versus Bloomfield Hills. The game was deadlocked at 0-0 through the first period. The first goal of the game didn’t come until 6:25 left in the second when Groves junior Charlie Penoza scored on a power play assisted by Catlin. Bloomfield Hills responded at the beginning of the third period on a power play. Just three minutes later Catlin scored to put the Kings up, followed by a power play goal from Carrel to make the score 3-1.

Groves junior defenseman Charlie Penoza rips a slap shot towards the Bloomfield Hills goal on January 13. (Chadwick Cole)

With just over three and a half minutes left in the game, Groves junior Leo Kepler was serving a penalty for BU head coach Zack Warson, Warson received a bench minor penalty. As Kepler was finishing serving the penalty, he saw Nies on a break towards the goal.

“I jumped out of the box and joined the rush. He took a shot and the goalie saved it, but it came right back off the pads to me and I put it back in,” Kepler said.

This was Kepler’s first varsity goal, putting the game away for the Kings.

“It was a great feeling, especially playing against one of our rivals. All of the boys were super pumped when I went back to the bench, and later on in the locker room. The goals when you’re coming out of the box are the best,” Kepler said.

Groves junior forward Leo Kepler buries a rebound into the net for his first varsity goal. This gave the Kings a 4-1 lead versus Bloomfield Hills on January 13. (Chadwick Cole)
The Kings managed to win all four of their games on the road trip to take them to 10-3-1 on the season. BU is currently 5-1-0 and second place in the OAA Red division (as of 1/13); they have two big league games coming up against third place Lake Orion on 1/22 and first place M-1 Griffins (Berkley and Royal Oak) on 1/28.