Alpena wraps up last playoff spot
The Alpena Street Cats became the fourth and final team to qualify for the Midwest Junior Hockey League playoffs with a 5-1 win over the Bloomington Jr. Blaze Sunday, Feb. 16, at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum.
Alpena will join the Traverse City Hounds, Soo Firehawks and Detroit Fighting Irish in playing for the Veteran’s Memorial Cup starting next month.
With the Hounds all but wrapping up first place, the only playoffs questions left to answer is who will be second, third and fourth seed when the playoffs open March 21-23, in the best of three first round at the home arena of the first and second seeds.
At Cellular Coliseum, five different Street Cats’ players scored and goaltender Aleksandr Shishkin stopped 13 of 14 shots for the win.
Garret Bailey registered a goal and an assist, while Nick Hartmann, Andrei Kiselev, Pavel Bocharov and Edgar Kharlamov added single goals for Alpena.
Andrei Yanovich chipped in two assists as well.
For the Jr. Blaze, Dylan Farmer scored and Vlad Salangin and Kent Nusbaum combined for 23 stops between the pipes.
Players of the Week
The Detroit Fighting Irish dominated the league’s player of the week honors with the selection of Ryan Santo, Michael Cruse and Aaron Robinson as the forward, defenseman and rookie of the week respectively. Alpena’s Shishkin was named the goalie of the week.
Santo recorded a hat trick, including the game-winner Feb. 14, as the Fighting Irish skated to a 9-4 win against the Michigan Ice Dogs. The 20-year-old Wayne, MI, native now has 30 goals in 27 games this year for Detroit.
Cruse, 19, of Plymouth, who was also named Defenseman of the Week on Oct. 29, played more than 30 minutes in all situations and added two assists Feb. 14, against the Ice Dogs.
Shishkin earned wins in both of Alpena’s games that weekend against Bloomington.
Friday afternoon, the 19-year-old from Moscow, Russia, made 25 saves in a 6-2 win and then after suffering the loss Saturday, stopped 13 shots in a 5-1 victory on Sunday.
Meanwhile, roookie of the week Robinson, an 18-year-old forward of Wyandotte, recorded two assists on Feb. 14, as Detroit defeated the Ice Dogs.
Overall, Robinson has scored three goals with nine assists for 12 points in 26 games this year for the Fighting Irish.