The Kalamazoo Eagles won Monday’s first round regional tournament contest 2-1 against Capital City at the Summit Arena in Dimondale. It was the first-ever MHSAA postseason game for the Eagles, who punched their ticket to Saturday’s regional semifinal against Kalamazoo United. The win also avenges a 4-3 overtime loss to the Capitals last month.
The defending regional champions opened with a goal from St. John’s senior Daniel Bendele on their first shot on goal 46 seconds into the contest. Capital City would unofficially get another 34 shots on goal with each one stopped by Plainwell senior Huston Born. Since their OT loss to the Capitals, Born has allowed only one or two goals over seven consecutive starts.
The Eagles picked up their first powerplay opportunity midway through the first period and used 23 seconds of it to tie the game. With 6:43 remaining, Connor Greger’s blue line blast was deflected in by Alex Johnson for his team-best 20th goal of the season. Trent Stoner also added an assist. The second powerplay for the Eagles led their second goal with 1:10 left in the first period as Parchment’s Jimmy Lindstrom scored unassisted during a mad scramble in front of the net.
Both teams had failed powerplay attempts in the second period, followed by a largely clean third period. The Capitals swung the shot opportunities in their favor nearly three-to-one within the final two frames, but each try was stopped by Born. Janek Levandowski unofficially had 23 saves in defeat for Capital City.
The Kalamazoo Eagles improve to 19-7 overall and advance to their first-ever regional semifinal at 5 p.m. ET Saturday against Kalamazoo United from Michigan State’s Munn Arena. You can listen to Saturday’s contest live via JoeInsider.com. The win was also the first MHSAA tournament win for any of the SCHSHL South division teams since 2017.
Capital City closes the season 15-10-1 and graduates seniors Tyler Osborn, Brendan Melling, Daniel Bendele, Gage Bowerman, and Ethan LaPerriere.