Brighton hockey coach Paul Moggach figures his team has a couple of things in its favor going into tonight’s Division 1 regional final at Grand Oaks Ice Arena.
“Our players have some familiarity with Grand Oaks,” he said. “That probably weighs a little in our favor. But we’re also a good road team. That’s a road game, and that plays into our hands as well, too.”
The Bulldogs will put that expertise to good use tonight against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in a game that will be broadcast on The Livingston Post starting at 6:50 p.m.
Certainly, more Brighton players have learned to deal with the very low ceiling, with a net that means players have to learn to keep the puck low to avoid faceoffs.
The limited seating and parking will be unlike what either team is used to, either.
The teams met at the Kensington Valley Ice House on Nov. 22, a game the Bulldogs won 3-2. They met in the regional final there last year, with Brighton winning 2-1 in overtime.
But, home ice aside, Moggach says this team plays better on the road.
“We won the Cranbrook tournament, we won at the (MIHL) showcase, we won in the U.P,,” he said. “We lost to Hartland at home. We lost to Northville at home. That’s why i’m saying we’re a good road team. It’s further for them, but I think that plays doubly into our hand. We’re a good road team. I don’t know if they are or not.”
Most important, Moggach says, is a strong start.
“For some of our guys, we’ve played in big games,” he said, “but not like this, where there’s the pressure that comes with a regional final. I think it all comes together now. We’ve talked about the opportunity, we’ve talked about how hard we’ve worked to get here,
“If we get a good start, it really takes the pressure off,” he continued. “We’ll work toward creating the environment that gives them a good start.”