Mid-Michigan Conference Preview

Can Anyone Knock Off the FNV Griffins?

Craig Peterson

October 4, 2023

Photo from Freeland Athletics
Photo from Freeland Athletics

With just four teams, the Mid-Michigan Conference is the smallest of all leagues in Michigan High School Hockey. The highest ranked team in the conference last season was league champion Freeland-Nouvel-Valley (FNV) at No. 85 in the state. Yet, Fenton-Linden was the only league member to advance past the first round of the MHSAA playoffs. In terms of league-play, FNV has won five of the last six league championships on record. Will either of Fenton-Linden, Tri-Valley or Bay Area Thunder be able to dethrone the powerhouse of the conference?

Last Season’s Champion: FNV Griffins

They only graduated five seniors last season, but that group accounted for 49 of the team’s 91 total goals. Forward Tristan Pohl returns after scoring 23 points in 21 games as a freshman. They were the only team in the conference to finish with a winning record, outsourcing opponents 36-14 in league games.

Players To Watch: 

Tristan Pohl, FNV Sophomore Forward

Averaged a point per game as a rookie in ‘22-23. Half of his offense came in the final month of the season. Things were just starting to click for him, and it will be interesting to see where he picks things back up in Year 2.

Dominic Corso, Jr., Fenton-Linden Junior Forward

The Griffins graduated their top four scorers from a season ago, which means Corso will have a rather large void to fill. One of only five players last season to finish the season with a plus-rating on a team that had a minus-30 goal differential.

Joey Miller, Tri-Valley Senior Forward

Offense was a little tough to come by last season for TVT, averaging 2.9 goals per game. Miller, on the other hand, was one of three players who averaged a point per game. He’s one I’d think should be counted on confidently for offense.

Brady Kingsbury, FNV Senior Defenseman

The highest-scoring defenseman in the conference returning this fall. Kingsbury has 13 multi-point games in his high school career, having patrolled the blue line for three seasons for FNV. His fourth season may just be his best yet.

Landyn Bridgewater, Bay Area Thunder Sophomore

Led all Thunder defensemen in scoring last season as a freshman, with five goals and 14 points. I fully expect Bridgewater to make a significant jump from Year 1 to Year 2, and have an even bigger impact for the Thunder this season.

Porter Lobocki, Fenton-Linden Junior Goalie

Posted a winning record of 7-5-0, and was ‘the guy’ come playoff time last season. Lobocki’s 3.84 goals-against average and .894 save percentage are among the best for goalies returning to the conference this season.

Save The Date: FNV vs. Fenton-Linden Game 2

All seven league championships accounted for on the Hub have been won by either FNV or Fenton-Linden. I fully expect the eighth one to come down to the matchup between these two teams. League structure is set for every team to play each opponent twice. The winner of Game 1 between these two teams could be rendered irrelevant if the loser of that game runs the table through its remaining five conference games. The second meeting between the ‘Battle of the Griffins’ will undoubtedly be high stakes, with potential for the league championship to be on the line. 

Petey’s Prediction: FNV Griffins

They should return quite a bit from a season ago, and even though they graduated a ton of scoring, FNV’s group has a pretty good resume for a “mid-major” type program. They were undefeated in league play last season, and played against the likes of Lumen Christi, Midland, Cranbrook, Rochester United and Bay City. I give them credit for taking on a challenging non-conference schedule and testing themselves against good competition. When you do things like that, I think you can see impressive growth and development year-over-year. Returning so much experience, I think they not only improve on their 13-10-0 record from a season ago, but add another league championship to the trophy case.

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