BRIGHTON — It’s a familiar script for the Brighton hockey team: Beat Orchard Lake St. Mary’s in a regional, then, as coach Paul Moggach put it, “go west.”
“West,” in this case, is Dimondale, located on the west side of Lansing, where the Bulldogs will take on Lowell-Caledonia for the second year in a row in a Division 1 quarterfinal.
Depending on who you talk to, that experience is helpful, or not.
“Oh, yes,” senior Adam Conquest said. “You know who the top guys are, who to watch for, the goaltender, everything. It’s a huge advantage for us.”
Moggach had an opposite view.
“Npt really,” he said. “Last year’s team is last year’s team. Ours is different, theirs is different. It’s hard to figure out, especially when teams are from the other side of the state. You hear about a Grosse Pointe or Farmington or something like that. You know them a little bit.”
And so, as they did in their pre-regional, the Bulldogs will worry about their execution while figuring out Lowell-Caledonia.
“A quick jump would be good,” Moggach said. “We kind of overdid it with Orchard Lake in terms of our presence at the beginning (of that game). We were overamped. I think they learned a lesson. They’ll just go out and go hard in the first five minutes and see what happens. They’ve got to figure it out on the ice.”
Lowell-Caledonia, at 9-14-1, figures to be the underdog to the Bulldogs (21-6-1) at The Summit in Dimondale.
Moggach was fine with the venue, but not with the starting time near 8 p.m.
“We start at 8, get out at 10:30 and won’t get home until 11:30,” and if you stop and get something to eat, it’s closer to midnight,” he said. “That’s ridiculous.”
It does, however, allow fans time to get there after getting home from work or school. And, Conquest said, there’s not shortage of excitement about the game at Brighton High School.
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “J.T. (athletic director John Thompson) sent out an email for our last game, telling everyone to be there. Hockey’s a huge sport at Brighton, and we know fans are going to come out.”
And while Moggach isn’t happy about a late starting time, he says that playing in the quarters for the seventh time in eight years is an experience that will help his team.
“Absolutely,” he s aid. “It means the same routine. Beat Orchard Lake, go out west. If that works, we come back and play CC on Friday.”