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High School Hockey Week 12: Homestead on a Roll; Hat Tricks Lead Way for Chargers

Just when it looked like we were going to make it through a full season without any postponements, Mother Nature had other plans. The day of the week didn’t make a difference for Carroll though as they kept up their winning ways, and Homestead continued their second-half turnaround. Adding more intrigue to the last rotation is the possibility that a strong finish could propel Homestead to the 3rd seed in the Memorial Cup Playoffs after being winless through the first eight weeks, but a tough task awaits them this week.

Weekly Recap

Homestead 6, Leo 2

JJ Scott and Weston Roth combined twice in the first period for Leo which had them in a good spot after the first period, but that was all the offense Leo could muster as Connor Gould kept them off the scoreboard for the final 2/3rds of the contest and an explosion of offense powered Homestead to the win. Scott was able to convert on the power play halfway through the first period which kicked off a flurry of goals to close out the period. Shortly after Leo went in front Evan Arnold answered with a power play goal of his own while Sparty was trying to kill off a 5-on-3. The trend of special teams goals continued when Roth assisted on Scott’s second of the game, this time getting it done shorthanded with 2:43 before the buzzer sounded to end the first period. Despite trailing, Homestead dominated shots on goal in the first period 20-4.

The scoring got underway much faster in the second period than it did in the first period, with Drew Brimner scoring just 2:15 in to tie the game again. Of course, it’s always a little easier when on the power play, as the Spartans were, and they took care of business with the man advantage again at 6:28 when Gavin Elkins collected his second assist after Aiden Byler buried the biscuit. That made it 3 goals for Homestead, all of them on the power play and they went into the second intermission leading 3-2. Homestead’s big three forwards continued going to work in the third with Byler potting two more goals (one shorthanded, another into an empty Leo net) to complete the hat trick and added an assist on top of that to make it a four-point night. Brimner scored a second goal and Elkins finished the game with three assists in the 6-2 win.

Carroll 8, Vipers 4

A true barn burner in the second game Saturday as Carroll and the Vipers put up a combined 12 goals, one of, if not, the highest of the season thus far. The first period was nothing crazy with just three goals with a pair of Carroll power play goals sandwiching a Jackson Bertels goal. Finn Cupp and Davis Cline factored in on both goals for Carroll, Cupp with a goal and assist, Cline with two assists. The Chargers were ready to go from the jump, putting 14 shots on Kam Clark while Luke Vanantwerp saw just two shots at the other end, with both backup goaltenders getting the start in net. After a blistering first minute of the second period that saw each team score, the Chargers were able to pull away with three straight goals, two of them being scored by Cupp and assisted by Carter Gnau. Those two goals gave Cupp a hat trick, the first for the Chargers on Saturday but not the last. The second-period goals also added up to five points in the game for Cupp who broke the 20-point threshold in league play. Bertels got one back for the Vipers before the end of the period but even then it was still a three-goal lead for Carroll.

Michael Scully got the opening goal of the third to give the Vipers some life with 10:31 to play. From there though Dylan Carteaux shut the door, scoring two more goals for his second hat trick in as many games, all three of his goals this time around coming on the power play. That made it four power-play goals in the game for Carroll as yet another team rode their special teams to a victory in Week 12. Four Chargers had multi-point games on Saturday and it was the first time all season that multiple players on the same team had hat tricks.

Power Rankings

1.) Carroll Chargers (12-0; Previous Rank: 1)

They lose their best offensive player who had been lighting the league on fire, and it hasn’t seemed to slow them down one bit. Dylan Carteaux has been on fire the last two weeks and we’ll see if that’s sustainable but it honestly doesn’t matter as it relates to league play. Carson Carteaux has been great in net this year which might be flying under the radar because of how good the team is upfront. They’ve been all but locked into a 4A draw for state since the end of December but I am officially declaring them a contender in 4A, especially if Braun is able to make it back in time.

2.) Leo Lions (6-6; Previous: 2)

Haven’t exactly been on fire lately but they’re still going to be the second seed in the Memorial Cup Playoffs so mission accomplished on that front. I’m sure they’ll get back on track and the Vipers seem to be a good matchup for them which should build some more confidence this week. Still not a team I would want to play in a one-off elimination game!

3.) Homestead Spartans (3-8-1; Previous: 4)

Because why not? They’ve got the vibes and momentum going right now after winning back-to-back games. For any team looking to slow them down, it seems like a simple game plan, stay out of the box and keep Brimner, Byler, and Elkins in check. Of course, that’s easier said than done and even if you can accomplish that you’re not out of the woods but accomplishing those two tasks is only going to help. We talked with Head Coach Jake Kirkpatrick on Media Night and he said this team would take some work. It did but they’ve come out of it and are following the same plot line as Leo did last year. Outside of Carroll, they’re the team I’d want to face the least right now and that’s dangerous this time of year.

4.) Fort Wayne Vipers (3-8-1; Previous: 3)

I hate doing this but I can’t objectively keep them above Homestead right now. They don’t “deserve” to be fourth but someone has to be and in the last regular season rankings it’s them. In all honesty, everyone besides Carroll could be shuffled in the pre-playoff rankings so it would only take one win to possibly move them back up.

Week 13 Predictions

Last Week: 1-1

This Season: 18-6

Perfect Scores: 2/24

Leo 3, Vipers 2

Just gonna go with the score from the last time these teams played. The longer this year has gone the more I’ve realized picking scores is such a shot in the dark but I think it’ll be a one-goal game so why not just go with an actual result between these two!

Carroll 5, Homestead 1

I don’t actually think it’ll be 5-1 but I think Carroll will win so I’m just using the same score logic from above.

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