Macomb Area Conference Preview

Utica Eisenhower Eyes Back-to-Back Championships for first time since ‘19 and ‘20

Craig Peterson

October 4, 2023

Photo from Utica Eisenhower Athletics
Photo from Utica Eisenhower Athletics

What once was a 15-team, three-division conference now consists of two divisions of five programs. The Macomb Area Conference (MAC) is made up of some of the largest standalone and co-op programs in the state of Michigan. Chippewa Valley United (5,033), Utica Unified (3,521), Port Huron (3,190) and SCS Unified (3,039) are among the highest in terms of total enrollment. On top of that, Utica Eisenhower (2,280), Anchor Bay (1,840) and Romeo (1,745) are all in the Top 15 in terms of single-school enrollment as well. In total, six of the 10 member programs in the MAC are Division-I hockey teams.

Last Year’s Champions: Utica Ford United, Chippewa Valley United, Utica Eisenhower

League structure is set up to award a MAC-Red champion as well as a MAC-White champion. Last year’s first-place finishers were Utica Ford United on top of the White Division and Chippewa Valley United and Utica Eisenhower tied for the Red Division championship.

The Utica United page had no information regarding player information or stats from last season. However, they finished with a 14-10-0 record while playing a strength of schedule that ranked 80th in the state. Utica United carried a plus-3 goal differential and was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by conference foe Anchor Bay.

Utica Eisenhower’s 13-10-2 record from a season ago becomes much more impressive when you consider they closed out the season on a 7-4-0 run. The Eagles were a relatively young squad, with only seven seniors. Additionally, seven of those losses were by two goals or fewer, as they proved to be in the hunt even in defeat. 

In their first season as a co-op, Chippewa Valley United was by my account, the class of the MAC. A 20-7-0 overall record — by far the best in the conference — as well as the top two scorers in Anthony Paperi and Evan Johnston. However, both graduated last spring along with 63.9 percent of the team’s offense from a season ago. That’s a lot to replace year-over-year, and leaves plenty of unknowns heading into ‘23-24.

Last Season’s Champion: Players To Watch: 

Jacob Scharret, Utica Eisenhower Senior Forward

There’s a lot to like about Ike’s forward group, and Scharret’s play-making ability is at the forefront. He scores in bunches, with seven multi-point games last season including four- and five-point nights.

Dominic Riggio, Utica Eisenhower Senior Forward

A goal-scorer’s touch, Riggio has 31 career goals in his two years of high school hockey. He scored 28 points in 21 games last season, and is ripe for a strong senior year consisting of his best performance yet. 

Spencer Groszkiewicz, Romeo Junior Forward

He led the team in scoring as a sophomore, averaging nearly two points per game. Groszkiewicz recorded points in all but three games last season and finished the year on an 18-game point streak. 

Zach Delmonte, SCS Unified Sophomore Defenseman

Unofficially led all Michigan high school freshman defensemen last season in scoring with 10 goals and 25 points. Delmonte logged a ton of minutes in Year 1, and handled it admirably. I’d fully expect his game to take a huge jump during his sophomore year. 

Austin Brown, SCS Unified Senior Defenseman

St. Clair Shores only had four D listed on the roster in ‘22-23. They were forced to log a ton of minutes and see a ton of action. This season is where I think they reap the benefits of that experience, as both Brown and Delmonte could see plenty of opportunity.

Landon D’Angelo, Romeo Junior Goalie

He was 9-3-1 as a sophomore last season for the Bulldogs. Some of the top goalies in the conference have since graduated, leaving a rather large opportunity for a player like D’Angelo to step into the MAC spotlight.

Petey’s Prediction: Utica Eisenhower and SCS Unified

Eisenhower should return five of its six leading scorers from a season ago. This is an experienced group that never seemed to fully be out of a game in ‘22-23. With that resume to build off of, I’d fully expect the Eagles to take another step in the process and improve on their success from a season ago. Only question mark I have is goaltending; how will they replace Evan Hays and his 24 games in net from last season?

As for SCS Unified, I think they stand to make the biggest improvement year-over-year than any other team in the conference. Hell, there’s potential for them to be most improved in the state. The team’s leading scorer, Brennen Lenk, has the possibility of improving on his 33-point sophomore season. Freshman sensation Zach Delmonte returns after averaging a point per game. Plus, all three goalies from ‘22-23 were underclassmen. There’s elements of this SCS team to like at all three levels up front, on the back end and in net. 

Want to talk about it? Let's connect on social: