TC West Readies for State Semifinals
TRAVERSE CITY – The Traverse City West hockey program is hoping that the third time is the charm on Friday.
Fresh off their first state quarterfinal win since 2010, the Titans (17-9-3) will face seventh-ranked Saginaw Heritage (22-4-3) in a Division 1 state semifinal Friday at Plymouth’s USA Hockey Arena.
The meeting is the third this season between the two, with Heritage coming away with a 3-0 win in December while the two sides settled for a 4-4 tie in the regular-season finale in February.
“They’re a very quick team,” West coach Jeremy Rintala said of Heritage. “They play fast. They’re skilled offensively. They have a good goaltender, and some solid “D,” so they don’t have a lot of weaknesses. But, we can play with them if we play our best. We’re excited. You know, we get to play another game. And we’re one of four teams left, so we’ll give it everything we have.”
West is 8-2-1 in its last 11 games, with its senior class of 11 leading the way. Senior netminder Elliott Sitkins has a 2.51 goals against average.
The Titans have gotten past Muskegon Reeths-Puffer (5-4 OT), the Bay Reps (5-4 OT), Rockford (6-3) and Holland West Ottawa (1-0) to reach this point.
Heritage is no stranger to lengthy postseason runs, having won four regional championships in five seasons and reaching the Division 2 state semifinals in 2013. Runners-up in the Saginaw Valley League, Heritage posted a 2-1 quarterfinal win over Macomb Dakota on Wednesday and handed Midland (8-1), Bay City Central (10-2) and Otisville LakeVille Memorial (9-0) losses in the postseason.
Friday’s winner will face either No. 3 Brighton (23-6-1) or Detroit Catholic Central (26-3-1) for the state title at 6 p.m. Saturday.
The puck drops on Friday’s semifinal at 5 p.m.