The high school hockey season is at its halfway point, and with his team facing Hartland tonight, Brighton coach Kurt Kivisto admits he hasn’t been able to get much scouting done.
“I don’t know too much about them,” he said Thursday night. “You’re not as able to get out and get into the rinks and watch everyone play. We’re going in a little bit blind.”
That, in large part, is due to a schedule that is much shorter than the 3 1/2 months usually allotted to hockey. This year, it is six weeks.
Hartland coach Rick Gadwa, on the other hand, has had a chance to scout Brighton from the comforts of home.
“Brighton and Hartland have cameras in their rinks for all of their games,” Gadwa said. “I’ve watched more of our opponents than I would have (otherwise) because we have film on them. As a coach, you like to find tendencies and sometimes it might have something to o with the way we play. But, at the same time, how much that really plays into it, I don’t know.”
Both teams will find out tonight in a game that will be broadcast on The Livingston Post starting at 5:20 p.m. Click here for the link.
Brighton, in its first season under Kivisto, is 4-4, although all four losses have been to top ranked teams in all three divisions.
“There are a lot of new faces this season,” Kivisto said. “Some of the guys who are seniors are new to the team so there is a learning curve. We;re playing a touch schedule, and hopefully we’ll be better because of it.”
Hartland (6-1), meanwhile, has interspersed its schedule with some of the state’s toughest teams with league games that have been, for the most part, ended by the mercy rule. An exception was Wednesday’s win over Canton, where the Eagles scored all three goals in the third period of a 3-1 victory.
“We’re going to need to play with pace,” Gadwa said. “We played a team thta really locked us up and slowed us down a bit. We’re looking for a response and see if we can sped things up a bit.”
While the teams might not be as familiar with each other as units, players on both sides are familiar with each other, as are the coaches, who have known each other for decades.
“That competitive part is fun,” Gadwa said. “There’s a lot of good relationships (among team members), and friendships. It makes the game a little more exciting.”
“You know what to expect,” Kivisto said. “These kids have grown up playing against each other. You know the faces and you know they’re going to be a team and will play hard, and it should be a pretty competitive game.”
As it turns out, both teams play Saginaw Heritage on Saturday as part of doubleheaders. The Eagles will meet Heritage at the Hartland Ice House at 10 a.m., then play at Detroit Country Day at 4 p.m. Brighton will play Novi at the Kensington Valley Ice House at 11 a.m., then play Heritage at home at 6:30 p.m.