Brighton eliminates Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 3-2 in OT
Logan Mitchell’s goal 8:58 into overtime gave D1 No. 3 Brighton a 3-2 win over No. 6 Orchard Lake St. Mary’s on Saturday in a regional semifinal at the Kensington Ice House. But it was Colin Reiter’s first goal of the season that got the Bulldogs into overtime.
Reiter, a senior, scored on a breakaway 1:42 into the second period to tie the game 2-2. He had five assists in 21 regular-season games this season, the only Brighton forward and one of only three skaters on the team without a goal.
“I’ve been just the grinder, the guy to go in the corner, get the puck, pass it out,” Reiter told the Livingston Daily. “It wasn’t my job to get the goals. I’m a guy who just grinds.
“I got the puck on a breakaway and put it in. It (took) a little longer than I wanted, but I got it in a playoff game. That’s where I want to get my goal.”
Reiter stole the puck at the Brighton blue line and skated down the right side, cutting to the net and sliding the puck past goalie Blake Hazelton.
“It was the craziest feeling of my life, putting that puck in, going on a breakway,” Reiter said. “I didn’t really know what I was going to do. I just went with the flow. I had the goalie leaning left, just pulled right, put the puck in. The crowd went crazy. It’s one of the best feelings ever.”
Mitchell’s OT winner was his first goal in nine games. He put in a cross-crease pass from Lars Erkkila.
“It was a little dump-in,” Mitchell said. “Lars was able to grab it and took it wide. I was able to find a good opening. He was driving and was able to find my back door, and I was able to put it over his pad and put it in the back of the net.
“It feels really good. They did knock us out last year; that was hard to deal with. But we were gunning for them all year this year. We came out ready and we took the dub (W).”
Goalie Chris Wozniak made 33 saves in his first playoff start and Landon MacDonald also scored for Brighton.
Charles Thornton and Kris Petryla got the goals for OLSM.
Brighton and St. Mary’s have met in regionals five straight seasons (the Eaglets knocked the Bulldogs out of the playoffs last season), with four games decided by one goal and the other by two. Brighton is 6-1 all-time against the Eaglets in the state playoffs, winning three times in overtime.
“The tradition we have with them and the kind of games we play against each other are really phenomenal for High School hockey and for both teams,” Brighton coach Paul Moggach said.
The Bulldogs (16-8-2) will face seventh-ranked Howell (17-10) at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the regional championship game at Kensington Valley. Brighton beat Howell, 5-2, on Jan. 24. The Bulldogs have won the last eight meetings between the Livingston County rivals since losing 4-3 in overtime on Dec. 3, 2014.
“I grew up with most of those guys, so I’m pretty good friends with them,” Wozniak said. “They’re going to be coming hard. It’ll be a good game.”