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Hartland Hockey Heads to Great Eight

Hockey team takes on Grosse Pointe South at Ice Cube in Ann Arbor.

It’s a daunting task for any new coach, taking over an already successful team and stepping into the shoes of a previous coach. But alumna and first-year hockey coach  said he had a plan coming into his first season, and together with his players, they found new ways to be successful.

"Any time you get used to something and then something new comes along, it can be exciting," Gadwa said. He said he realized early on he had the makings of a great team.

“I gotta admit, when I took over at the beginning of the year, everyone was talking to me ... around Hartland, about how much talent we lost,” Gadwa said. “I remember looking at the team right off the bat and seeing the young guys coming up as well as the returners and saying, we have enough of a team to do something here.”

And do something they did -- all the way to winning the regional championships against Ann Arbor Pioneer on Saturday with a score of 3-1. During that game, goaltender Nick Wineka made 22 saves on 23 shots and goals were scored by senior Ryan Daavettila and junior Chris McRae. The victorious team (10-1-1) is now on their way to the Division 2 quarterfinal game in the Great Eight tournament and travels to Ann Arbor tonight to take on Grosse Point South at the Ice Cube starting at 7:45 pm.

“Obviously there’s eight teams left in the state,” Gadwa said of the upcoming tournament. “I think we started with 65 or so, so to be one of the final eight is a good goal to accomplish.”

At the beginning of the season, even with losing several keys seniors from last year, Gadwa and his team had a goal of winning the regional championship.

“That was our last win,” Gadwa said. “Now the guys are sniffing the big prize and they’re saying why not? Let’s go get that one too.”

Their opponent tomorrow night, Grosse Pointe South, is a team that Hartland has not faced yet this season and Gadwa says he knows that they are a good team “from top to bottom.”

The Eagles are ready, however, according to their coach who says they are prepared and excited for the big game. 

“I think it was our most energetic, hard practice of the year (last night),” he said. “Which is great to see. They’re riding high on emotion right now. They’re a determined bunch of guys.”

The team is led, on and off the ice, by a strong group of seniors, Gadwa said, and recognizes the efforts of senior captain Daavettila, who was their leading goal scorer this season with 26 goals and 18 assits. 

“Sometimes he (Daavettila) can just be a one man show,” Gadwa said. “He’s an unbelievable hockey player -- he really puts the team on his back.”

Other key players for his team come defensively from seniors Ray Young and Nick Pleshakov. 

 Players Names

  #  

Class of

Position

Albany Justen

 26

 2012

Allen Tyler

 9

 2012

Bailey Justin

 4

 2013

Bandyk Brett

 2

 2013

 f

Daavettila Ryan

 18

 2012

 F

Flores Austin

 3

 2014

 F

Johnson Blake

 20

 2012

 D

Kinzel Austin

 37

 2013

 G

Landry Max

 10

 2012

 F

Letourneau Peirre

 6

2012 

 D

McCann Jimmy

 15

 2013

 F

McCarthy Matt

 11

 2013

 F

McRae Chris

 13

 2014

 F

O'Boyle ned

 27

 2013

 F

Pleshakov Nick

 5

 2013

 D

Rutherbusch Jordan

 7

 2012

 F

Ruthig Josh

 21

 2014

 F

Sudbay Trevor

 19

 2014

 D

Tripp Austin

 74

 2012

 F

Wineka Nick

 43

 2014

 G

Young Ray

 17

 2012

 D

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