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When looking up at the banners on the gymnasium walls at Flint Powers Catholic, there are two distinct colors.


“They have blue banners for state championship teams at our school and orange banners for the state runner-up teams,” noted Powers boys hockey coach Travis Perry (Sp). “That’s a sore spot with us. We have seven orange banners up their for hockey.”


But no blue banners — state championships — for hockey.


The Chargers’ program, which dates back 44 years to 1972, has featured 19 Final Four teams, 29 conference championships and 32 regional titles.


Powers is 0-7 all-time in MHSAA state title games.


“Maybe we’re due?” offered Perry. “We’re hoping to fill that void.”


Powers Catholic last lost in the 2013 Division 3 state finals. Despite having a quality state-ranked team last season, the Chargers finished second in the Saginaw Valley League last season with a 6-1 record, trailing only league champion Saginaw Heritage (7-0), which reached the Final Four.


Heritage defeated Powers twice last season, including 3-2 in the pre-regional contest to end the Chargers’ season in late February of 2016. 


Flint Powers, the smallest school of the eight hockey playing schools in the SVL, boasts a school best 11 seniors on its roster. The Chargers entered the holidays break this season with an impressive 9-0-0 record, outscoring the opposition 50-11 with two shutouts.


The Chargers defeated powerhouses Detroit U-D Jesuit (4-0), Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (4-3) and Grand Rapids Catholic Central (6-1), as well as defeating defending SVL champion Heritage (4-2) in the SVL opener back in mid-December.


“I think your’e only as good as you’re seniors,” beamed Perry. “I think we have a very good senior class. We’ve never had 11 seniors before. When we lost in the 2013 semifinals, I think we had 10 seniors. We only have (647) students in our high school — by far the smallest in our league. But were very blessed that a good group of travel players picked Powers a few years ago and decided to stick together and play for the same high school. They are our leaders.”


Seniors Conor Witherspoon (nine goals, 16 assists) and Brendan Smith (12 goals, 11 assists) lead a potent offense. Senior defenseman Jake Polakowski (one goal, 15 assists) is the top defenseman.


Junior goaltender Brent Stebbins, who transferred over from the Fenton/Linden Unified program and served as a back-up last season during the second half of the campaign, has been lights out between the pipes. He has played in eight games, logging 396 minutes, posting a perfect 8-0-0 record, stopped 156 of 167 shots, yielded only 11 goals, posted two shutouts, recorded a 1.42 goals-against-average and a sterling .934 save percentage.


Junior newcomer Cam Conover (six goals, 10 assists), who netted the game-winner against Orchard Lake St. Mary’s, has been a blessing to the team’s scoresheet, while sophomore Mason Weiss (three goals, eight assists) has emerged as a threat after being just a role player a year ago.


The pieces of the puzzle are definitely in place for Powers Catholic to challenge for the SVL and regional titles — and perhaps even more.


“We have a series of goals. Right now we’re working on getting better each game and contending in our league,” said Perry. “We already beat Heritage, and they are usually tough. Bay City (Unified) is also tough, and I think Mt. Pleasant, Midland Dow and Davison are all solid. It won’t be easy. The Saginaw Valley is one of those leagues that if you have an off night, someone can step up and beat you.


“As for the state tournament, there’s no secret that we hope to make a run,” continued Perry. “Some of the kids on this team have seen it all. A couple of them were with us when as freshman we got to the Final Four in 2014 and last year when we had only three seniors, most of this team was here when we lost in the first round of regionals. We’ve been on both ends. This year we hope to do something that no other Powers team has been able to do.”




Besides Powers Catholic, the Saginaw Valley League appears to be deep again this season.


Mount Pleasant is off to a 6-4-0 record and the Oilers hope to strike up a few upsets this season. Mount Pleasant is 2-1 in league play in December.


Heritage was hard hit by graduation and fields a team with many juniors and sophomores. Still the Hawks are 5-2-0 overall.


Davison and Midland Dow are both off to respectable starts. Davison is 4-2-1, while Dow stands 6-4-0 overall.


Over the past two decades, both teams have made several deep runs in the postseason.



In a wide-open Capital Area Activities Conference, it appears that the Grand League/Fowlerville Unified squad has taken the drivers seat. Unified is 4-1-0 in conference play, which feature seven teams, having outscored the opposition 36-16 this season.



The Mid-Michigan Hockey Conference doesn’t appear to have a team standing out through December. Alliance Unified, Tri-Valley Unified Titans, FNV Griffins, Bay Area Thunder and the Mid-Michigan Storm are all at or below .500 overall.