Soo falls short of state title

PLYMOUTH – A four-minute stretch in the middle of the second period cost Sault Ste. Marie a chance to win its first MHSAA state hockey championship since the 1980s on Saturday afternoon.

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood scored three times in that stretch to post a 4-2 victory over the Blue Devils for the Division 3 crown at Compuware Sports Arena.

The Soo (22-9) had reached the title game by defeating Flint Powers Catholic 4-3 in double overtime in Friday’s semifinals and 4-1 over Houghton in the Wednesday’s quarterfinals played in Marquette.

On Saturday, Cranbrook (28-2-1) held a huge 38-10 advantage in shots on goal, but Blue Devils goaltender Nickolas McKenzie held his team in the game, stopping 13 shots in the second period and 14 in the third. Cranes goalie Spencer Applebaum had to make just eight saves.

Cranbrook scored the only goal of the first period at 8:11, an unassisted tally by Austin Alger, before beginning its three-goal barrage in the second.

During the Cranes’ scoring binge, the Soo got its first goal from Alex Teneyck at 8:51.

But Cranbrook’s Kevin Shand scored at 7:23 and Alex Alger at 10:10 and 11:26 to make it 4-1. The final goal was on a power play, one of seven the Cranes had.

The Blue Devils scored the only goal of the third period from Chase Gamelin at 5:34.

The Soo was hampered in its comeback attempt down the stretch with two shorthanded situations in the final eight minutes.

Sault Ste. Marie has won two state titles, in 1984 and 1989 in Class B-C-D, and has been runner-up five previous times, most recently in 2001.