It was a relatively light day for the Brighton hockey team on Thursday, as the Bulldogs went through their last day of practice of the season.
“They did a brief (stretching session) upstairs,” Brighton coach Paul Moggach said. “We worked on the power play a little. But, really, the work is done.”
Now the Bulldogs have one and possibly two more chances to apply the lessons learned in a season that began with tryouts more than four months ago.
Brighton (22-6-1) will take on Detroit Catholic Central (25-3-1) in a Division 1 semifinal at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth.
The teams met in the MIHL-KLAA Showcase in Livonia on Dec. 16. Catholic Central won 3-0 in a game which saw the Shamrocks score on a somewhat fluky goal in the last second of the third period and an open-net goal late in the third.
“You can take some small things from that game,” Moggach said. “The power play probably hasn’t changed. But everything else is different. They’ve gotten better. We’ve gotten better, I’m sure.
“There’s one thing we recognize and we’ll recognize tomorrow,” he added. “It’s really about not making mistakes and playing almost a perfect game against them.”
With the exception of 2015, when Brighton lost in a regional final, this is the first time in the last four postseason meetings that the game wasn’t in the Division 1 finals. Each team won twice.
That familiarity, along with a regular-season game played each season, should help.
“In the old days, when we couldn’t compete as well, we hoped to sneak up on them,” Moggach said. “Any more, I think it’s on the calendar. We play them early in the second and in the last game. That’s how it works, and we can compete now.”
Tonight’s game is the second game of a doubleheader. Saginaw Heritage and Traverse City West play in the first semifinal at 5 p.m. Saturday’s championship game is at 6 p.m.
And, Moggach said, getting to Plymouth is still a thrill.
“I guess if it got old for anyone it would be me, because I’m the old guy,” he joked. “it’s exciting. Your whole season, you work for this, and the opportunity to go there is an amazing thing.”