When his Brighton hockey team lost to Northville, 3-2, a month ago today, coach Paul Moggach kept his team on the ice while Northville celebrated.
“There was a little sting,” Moggach said Thursday. “They were pretty happy. They celebrated big. We watched them and didn’t forget.”
Certainly, the Bulldogs are hoping for a better focus when they take on the Mustangs at 5 p.m. today at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth in the Division 1 semifinals.
Moggach was unhappy with his team’s play in Wednesday’s 7-0 win over Lowell-Caledonia in the quarterfinals. He made his unhappiness crystal clear in the moments after ward, but had softened somewhat by Thursday.
“As coaches, we had some concerns,” he said. “But the expectation is we’re going to have those games, and you tend to have a different style than you’d have against a team like Northville.
The loss began a 1-4-1 stretch to end the season for the Bulldogs, who had several players out with illness, injury or academic reasons down the stretch.
“We were down a couple players, and we played to their level,” Brighton senior Jake Crespi said. “I believe we’re the more skilled team, we’ re the better team and the more hard-working team. Hopefully we’ll be flying on all cylinders.”
Northville (22-6-1) and Brighton (23-6-1) know each other well. Northville coach Clint Robert was a Brighton assistant for a season, and Mustangs assistant Gordie Brown is one of the Bulldogs’ all-time leading scorers, as well as the son of former Brighton assistant Mike Brown.
They met for the first KLAA championship, which Brighton won, in the days when the Bulldogs were in the Lakes Conference of the KLAA.
“Their tendency is to put offense on you,” Moggach said. “They’re strong on the puck and on the forecheck. I think they’re a solid team offensively and defensively, and they get some goaltending. I think they have the whole package.”