Heritage hockey falls to Brighton in D1 championship game


John Raffel

Sports Scene


A banner season for Saginaw Heritage’s hockey team ended one win short with a 5-2 loss to Brighton in the Division 1 title game at USA Hockey Arena on March 10.

Brighton had a 2-1 lead on Heritage after the first period, following a scoreless second period. Brighton had a 3-1 scoring edge in the third period.

Brighton was 1-of-7 on power plays and had a 34-25 edge in shots. Heritage was 2-of-5 with the extra man.

“We’ve never made it to the championship game,” Heritage coach JJ Bamberger said. “It was the fourth time we made it to the semifinals and we had never won a semifinal game before this year.

David Helpap scored the first goal for Heritage. John Michael Watson also scored for Heritage, assisted by Collin Addicott.

A dramatic overtime in the semifinals, 3-2, over Traverse City West put the Hawks in the finals.

Heritage scored two goals in the first and TC had two in the second. The winning goal in overtime came from Matte Cole, assisted by Brady Rappuhn.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Other goals were scored by Edison Symons, assisted by Cole and David Helppa, assisted by Parker Severson and Jacob Best.

“It’s the third time we played TC West,” Bamberger said. “They came in with a great game plan and battled us. We had a 2-0 lead. They were competing hard. Our style of play is to open it up a little more offensively. It went into overtime and our goal was to end it fast and not let them settle in to what they were trying to do. We did that by ending the overtime in one of the first couple of shifts of the overtime.”

Junior Jack Jesko was the winning goalie.

“The kids at the beginning of the year before the season ever started, we didn’t know what to expect,” Bamberger said. “I knew we had a difficult schedule. I felt our record could possibly be .500. After the first couple of games, I had to re-evaluate that because these kids worked extremely hard. Off the ice and on the ice, team comradery, everything you want as a coach, we had. We had six or seven defensemen who can all play. We had some young players in their first year on the team, who stepped up their game as well. It seemed like everything came together through hard work and being good teammates.”

Helpap was a first-team all-state performer. Severson also scored a lot of goals along with Rappuhn and Symons; Jesko had 2.89 goals against average.

Heritage’s final record was 22-5-3.