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Trenton High Ice Hockey Team takes on MIHL Showcase

Trojans face a tough finishing stretch

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Trenton’s top line already has put in top-notch work. Now Ethan Holt, Nolan Szczepaniak, and Devin Dunn hope to top off the final stretch of the high school hockey season with some top-shelf results.

The trio has helped Trenton skate to a No. 2 ranking in the Division 2 state coaches’ poll and a 15-3-1 record.

“Our number one key to success has been the hard work that the players and coaching staff have put in each and every day that we spend together,” Trenton coach Chad Clements said. “There has been a commitment to improving each and every day and buying into the concepts that make the team get better.”

Now Holt, Szczepaniak, Dunn and the rest of the Trojans face a tough finishing stretch that begins this week at the MIHL Showcase on their home ice at Trenton’s Kennedy Ice Arena.

The MIHL Showcase, which takes place Jan. 31 through Feb. 2, is one of high school hockey’s premier events. It features 42 teams from across Michigan and neighboring states, including all three defending state champions: Brighton (Division 1), Hartland (Division 2) and Detroit Country Day (Division 3).

“The atmosphere is electrifying and the MIHL Showcase has the most scouts from various leagues that attend a high school event,” Clements said. “Our main goal is to create the best competitive atmosphere so that we can move as many of our young athletes from high school hockey on to the next levels.”

Not only does the showcase provide a venue for high school players to exhibit their skills, but it also allows the teams a chance to tune up for the home stretch of the high school season.

“After playing two very tough opponents, it allows coaches and players to focus on what they need to improve upon going into the final stretch before playoffs,” Clements said. “It is also a very exciting atmosphere which directly relates to the high school playoff tournament.”

This holds particularly true for Trenton, last year’s Division 2 state runner-up.

In the Trojans’ first matchup in the showcase, they will face Hartland in a rematch of last year’s championship game.Hartland has kept flying high this season. The Eagles won their first 14 games before losing 3-2 to Livonia Stevenson last weekend.

Hartland and Trenton have developed a rivalry. In addition to their meeting in the state championship game in 2018, the two teams have faced each other in the showcase over the last few years.

“It has become a big rivalry for us,” Clements said. “Hartland has been ranked No. 1 the entire season in D2 because of how talented their team is and because of how they play with a ‘team-first’ mentality. It will be a great opportunity for us to see where we stand against them and what we need to do to improve to prepare us for playoffs.”

So far, Trenton is headed in the right direction thanks to the team’s dedication. That commitment starts with Holt, Szczepaniak and Dunn.“Their willingness to work together, move pucks to the open man, and commit to team first has been very impressive,” Clements said.

Szczepaniak scored Trenton’s lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Allen Park on Saturday, Jan. 26.

Defenseman Cam Blanton complements the top line. “Cam has the ability to play solid defense and has the ability to join the rush and play offensively,” Clements said.  

Joey Cormier is the goaltender for Trenton, which has recorded eight shutouts in 18 games.“Joey is a competitor and is committed to do anything in that net to win a game for the team,” Clements said.

Cormier, Blanton and the rest of this year’s squad look to continue a strong tradition. The Trenton program has won 14 state championships in its history, and the Trojans could be in contention to add to that total.

“We still have a long way to go and have much to improve upon,” Clements said. “However, everyone involved is willing to do that and learn to make our team the best that we can possibly be.”

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