Nate Schneider

Sports Scene

Year in and year out, Brighton hockey continues to be one of the standard bearers for Division 1 hockey in Michigan.

After watching Detroit Catholic Central claim three straight state championships between 2014 and 2016, the Bulldogs reclaimed the top spot as they won the D1 state title last winter.

Brighton, under the direction of 22-year varsity head coach Paul Moggach, has now won four state crowns since 2006 and are more often than not right in the mix when it comes to naming the best prep hockey teams in the state of Michigan.

The Bulldogs won the 2017 state title via a 5-2 win over Detroit Catholic Central, getting a measure of revenge from the year before when the Shamrocks upended Brighton in the state title game by a 3-0 score.

“We’ve been to the state finals four of the last five years, so we’ve been there but just weren’t able to seal the deal until last season,” Moggach said. “We played Catholic Central earlier in the year and beat them, so I think it got us over the hump giving us the confidence that we could play with them.”

After finishing last season 24-6-1 to win the state championship, the Bulldogs have begun this campaign with a 6-2-1 mark.

Leading the charge for Brighton is senior forward Adam Conquest, who is committed to Bowling Green State University. Senior defenseman Sam Brennan, an Air Force commit, provides a dominant blue line player.

Senior Robert Pegrum, who served as backup goaltender last season and did not receive a lot of playing time, has stepped into the starter role this winter and has helped ensure the Bulldogs have not skipped a beat.

In all, approximately half the roster from the state title team has returned to the fold this year.

“You want to keep it in the moment but also have that longer vision of going after another state title,” Moggach added. “First off, we really want to win our conference again after watching Trenton win it last year. So winning our conference first and then going after another state championship, these kids are all focused on trying to accomplish that.”