GPS's Kramer, Country Day's Evola are High School royalty
GP South’s Kramer is Miss Hockey
Senior Grosse Pointe South forward Lauren Kramer is the total package as a hockey player.
That’s why she is this season’s Miss Hockey in Michigan Girls High School hockey.
“She’s like a lot of great players: She makes everybody else 100 percent better,” said GP South coach John Weidenbach. “She’s our captain, so of course she’s a leader … She’s the first one on the ice at practice and the last one off the ice.”
Kramer had 25 goals and 25 assists in 27 games overall and 20 goals and 17 assists for 37 points in 14 Michigan Girls High School Hockey League Division I games during the season.
She was held without a point in only two games in 2017-18, and Weidenbach said both of those were against Girls Travel teams.
“It feels good!” Kramer said about being Miss Hockey. “I’ve worked real hard my four years to get it, and last year I was in the running but didn’t win it. So I worked harder this year, and I got it.”
She also led the Blue Devils to the MGHSHL Division 1 state championship.
“It meant a lot,” she said. “Our team had so many question marks,” Kramer said. “ … We had a new coach and a lot of girls had left after last season. But, in the end, we won.”
She began playing when she was 4 on Boys teams at first because there were no Girls teams at those young ages.
“I kept up pretty good with them,” Kramer said of her male teammates.
She began playing Girls hockey at the age of 12, and dominated from the beginning.
“I’m like a playmaker. I like setting players up (for goals),” Kramer said. “And trying to pass to my players, instead of trying to score all of the goals myself.”
She has a 3.69 grade-point average and plans to attend Michigan State next fall and major in either pre-med or engineering. She’ll also likely play Club Hockey.
Country Day’s Evola first goalie to be Mr. Hockey
Sam Evola’s selection as Michigan’s Mr. Hockey for the 2017-18 season is an historic one.
Evola, a junior at Detroit Country Day High School, is the first goalie to ever win the award. He is also only the second junior to be Mr. Hockey – which usually goes to a senior – since current Detroit Red Wing Justin Abdelkader was named the best High School hockey player in the state in 2004, when he played for Muskegon Mona Shores High School.
“There’s nothing like it” – winning the award – “just celebrating at school with my friends,” Evola said. “Not just me but for the whole school. I can’t remember having a Mr. anything at Country Day.”
But one look at two of Evola’s stats during the season will show why a junior goalie is Mr. Hockey this season. He led all Michigan HS goalies with a microscopic 1.00 goals-against average and a gaudy .953 saves percentage.
He credited his teammates.
“It wasn’t just me – my defensemen were a big part of that,” said Evola, obviously an All-State selection and member of the Dream Team.
He was so good that Evola led the Yellowjackets to a 28-2-1 record and the Division 3 state championship. It was the school’s first Michigan High School Athletic Association hockey state title since 1981.
Evola made 30 saves in a 2-1 win over Livonia Churchill in the state championship game. Once again he praised a teammate, this time senior forward Carter Elrod, who blocked a shot on a great scoring opportunity late in the game with Country Day hanging on to its one-goal lead.
“A lot of it is guys like him blocking shots out of nowhere,” Evola said on the MHSAA website. “I think they might have scored if he didn’t block that shot. I didn’t see it.”
Evola also won a Youth hockey national championship at the Tier II 14U level with the USA Eagles.
But he says the High School state championship was sweeter.
“Winning States was much better. The state championship game was incredible, the atmosphere,” Evola said. “Seeing your friends and your family after the game when you’re on the ice …”
At 5-11 and 165 pounds, Evola’s biggest asset in the crease is his athleticism.
“I’m very skilled and my skating is a strength,” he said. “I’m really fast. Being a smaller goalie, that helps me tremendously. I’m not a big goalie, who is 6-1 or 6-2.”
In the future, Evola plans to graduate from Detroit Country Day and try to play Junior hockey in the United States Hockey League or North American Hockey League. He also will make an attempt to earn a Division I College Hockey scholarship.