Veteran’s Leading Sault Ste. Marie in 2016-17
SAULT STE. MARIE – One of the Upper Peninsula’s most storied high school hockey programs, Sault Ste. Marie is off to another quick start on the ice this season, searching for a fifth straight Division 3 regional title.
A seven-time state runner-up and two-time champion, the Division 3 fourth-ranked Blue Devils (6-1) have set their sights on winning their first state championship since claiming the 1989 Class B-C-D title.
“I like our offensive abilities. I don’t think we’re too far off from the years gone by,” Sault Ste. Marie coach John Ferroni said. “We have some young, inexperienced guys, but I think they’ve come along. I think our big problem is going be finding consistency this year. Maybe not so much offensively, but defensive consistency.”
With 17 upperclassmen, including nine seniors, Sault Ste. Marie is getting the job done offensively, outscoring opponents 35-12 and scoring six or more goals in four games while posting three shutouts.
“This year, it is a more speed year,” Sault Ste. Marie junior Bobby Price said. “That’s more of our key thing that we are working on, especially on this new ice surface with the Big Birds, it’s bigger. That means we can skate around kids and they get gassed easily and we just speed.”
Sault Ste. Marie has again established a daunting schedule for itself. The Blue Devils have already picked up an 8-1 win over defending Division 2 state champion Romeo, as well as wins over state-ranked Grand Rapids Catholic Central (3-0) and Chelsea (6-1), and still have games against 2015 Division 2 state champion Birmingham Brother Rice, Division 1 state power Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, Escanaba and Traverse City Central and West.
The Blue Devils face another tough test Friday, when they visit undefeated and fifth-ranked Big Rapids (7-0-1).