Tag Archives: Donald Lierman

O. D.’s Rant 57-14

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

Dearest reader, I have been maligned for too little or too many words in this, our last missive, of the book of O.D. I considered writhing or maybe just writing the word “THE” 666 times. But for you, dear faithful, I shall cry once more into the wilderness.

Again, I am forced to watch the Stanley Cup coverage when the national jerk works televise the games with the sound off. Their clear biases either send me to the gym or for a Canadian soda which I imbibe while screaming Iggy chants.

How to beat Phoenix? Find a ref who doesn’t feel it necessary to make up for being a bullied, inept hockey wannabee. Next, bring up the heavy hitters and don’t try to play finesse with wannabee Broad Street Bullies. Gosh, I’d love to see the Coyotes “toughies” on the ice with Dave “The Hammer” Schultz and company. Pant pant.

When I was blessed to meet the great Mickey Redmond, he had much to say about the playoffs.

“With the way the Western Conference is right now,” Redmond said, “I think the Wings are as good as anybody getting into the final four. If we continue to stay healthy and stay on track we have a good shot.”

On the “New” NHL…

“We must get rid of the phantom penalties,” Redmond said. “The way the game has cleaned up, without those calls the players would be able to exhibit their skills.”

No surrender Wings, we’ve battled back from worse than the leg-humping of desert critters.

Now for more hockey news.

Congratulations to Port Huron Icehawks’ Governor and Chief Financial Officer Frank Kinney for being selected 2009-2010 International Hockey League Executive of the Year.

I say it, the league says it, reader please see that the Icehawks are a class organization that excels despite having an arena that seats less than a fifth of some of their rivals.

Eh, Mr. Kinney, I, uhm, am graduating soon. Could you use a true hard-working fan-atic?

The playoffs are here. The Icehawks will be battling the team that defeated them in the seventh game of the finals two years ago. The time for revenge is ripe. Let’s douse the Komets.

Get out there and support the Hawks. I have had the honor to cover the players and the words class and dedication hardly describe these guys. They have an opportunity to bring the Turner Cup to our town.

This is playoff hockey, folks. This is Port Huron hockey. If you have never seen it, try it. Once you see it I feel it impossible you could not be hooked.

Icehawks’ Tab Lardner believes it will be a hard fought series.

“Fort Wayne is a strong team and have excellent older experience,” Lardner said, “but I don’t know what they will bring to the table. We have a lot of depth in our line up so we’ll keep the shifts short.

“Both teams are evenly matched. Whoever plays the game fundamentally will come out on top.”

Take a chance, dear reader, the Icehawks are one addiction that I think you will treasure.

Thanks to all involved. I’d just like to say … (rest chopped by the thought police).

Icehawks soar into playoffs

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

The Bloomington Prairie Thunder arrived in Port Huron Saturday headed for the Turner Cup playoffs. They left Sunday for the putting greens.

Port Huron Icehawks rookie goalie Rafaelle D’Orso faced 40 shots in a 4-1 victory, Sunday that allowed the Flint Generals to pass Bloomington for the last playoff spot.

“I actually prefer getting a lot of shots,” D’Orso said. “Keep in mind the defensemen blocked a lot of shots, too. The defense did a great job.”

Icehawks’ Derek Patrosso was impressed by the rookie’s performance.

“Those Quebec goalies may have difficulties speaking English but they sure know how to stop the puck,” Patrosso said. “They know how to train their goalies in Quebec.”

Port Huron coach Stan Drulia was impressed by D’Orso’s poise.

“The kid proved he could play tonight,” Drulia said. “Like those in the French goalie mold, he is quiet in his movement and shows great confidence in the net.”

The Icehawks’ Mike Kinnie scored his 26th goal of the year and teammate Brandon Naurato his 25th in the second period. Despite Bloomington slicing the lead to one 45 seconds into the third period, two third period Port Huron goals put the game on ice.

“We still have to play more consistently in the playoffs,” Patrosso said. “We cannot have those spurts where we let up as we did in this weekend’s series. The team has to take it up a notch and limit our turnovers in the playoffs if we are to be successful.”

The victory was the Icehawks’ eighth straight home victory and 11th of their last 12 matches at McMorran.

On the previous night, the Icehawks watched a 3-0 lead dissolve and were forced to come from behind to defeat the Prairie Thunder, 5-4, in overtime. Port Huron’s Daniel Tetrault scored 28 seconds into sudden death to notch the Icehawks’ 46th victory of the season.

“The first period was all us, the second period all them, and the third period was well played by both teams,” Icehawks’ Coach Stan Drulia said. “They plain out-competed us in the second period. We lost every battle, we were lazy, and that’s not a recipe for success at this time of the year.

“In this league, there’s too much offense, too many power plays and four on fours that can change the momentum quickly.”

With the two victories, the Icehawks ended their season in third place with a record of 47-25-0-4. Port Huron faces the Fort Wayne Komets in the opening round of the playoffs on Thursday.

Fort Wayne visits McMorran on Saturday, April 24, for the second game of the playoffs. Face off time is 7:30 p.m. For further Icehawks information, visit www.porthuronicehawks.com.

Icehawks begin playoffs

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

Two years ago, a defeat in the finals after a seventh game overtime loss to the Fort Wayne Komets left a bitter taste in the mouth of Icehawks’ fans. Although only the opening round, a chance for revenge begins Thursday as Port Huron travels to Fort Wayne to begin their quest for the cup.

The Icehawks ended their season in third place in the International Hockey League with a record of 47-25-0-4. The team produced two 30 plus goal scorers in Mickael Bedard and Derek Patrosso and two 25 plus goal scorers in Mike Kinnie and Brandon Naurato.  Bedard was also named the IHL’s 2009-2010 Rookie of the Year.

“Bedard was phenomenal,” Icehawks’ Coach Stan Drulia said. “With a young kid you don’t know what you are in for but he’s been professional, worked hard every day, and desires the next level.”

Hawks’ goalie Larry Sterling led the team with a 22-11-0-1 record and a 2.72 goals against average.

“If we’re going to go far in the playoff, Larry has to play well,” Drulia said. “Larry is well aware of this.”

Fort Wayne finished in second in the IHL with 104 points and a 50-22-1-3 record. The Hawks are 5-6 against Fort Wayne in regular season play.

“Fort Wayne has been the champion for the last two years,” Drulia said. “I would love to be the guy to end that reign. That is the mentality of the staff, the organization, and we’re going to relay that message to the players. I feel we’re up for that challenge.”

Port Huron’s 98 points occurred despite injuries to key players such as Tab Lardner, Jason Selleke, and Cory Stillman.

Icehawks’ Alternate Captain Robert Cowan feels the team will succeed if they stick to the basics.

Cowan said, “We need to realize that the regular season is over now. Whatever happened in the regular season is out the window.”

Unlike last year, the Hawks are entering the playoffs with momentum; especially at home with their eight game winning streak.

“Last year we were sputtering,” Drulia said. “This year we finished with a 7-3 record and 29 home victories for the year. That is the most I’ve won here in my four years. Not only have we played great here, we have performed well in Fort Wayne.”

There is a sense that the playoffs will be, well, chippy.

“There is a bit of a history between us,” Cowan said. “Losing game seven to them two years ago has developed a rivalry.”

Drulia agreed.

“I think it will be more physical here because of the rink size,” Drulia said. “Because their rink is larger and both teams skate so well, it should be more open in Fort Wayne.”

Port Huron faces the Fort Wayne Komets in the opening round of the playoffs on Thursday in Fort Wayne. Fort Wayne visits McMorran on Saturday, April 24, for the second game of the playoffs.

Face off time is 7:30 p.m. For further Icehawks’ information, visit   www.porthuronicehawks.com.

Scots sweep Skippers

Donald Lierman          

Sports Editor

   When you only have two pitchers on your staff, doubleheaders can take their toll.

   The Alma Scots swept the SC4 Lady Skippers at Pine Grove Park, Tuesday, March 30 by scores of 7-1 and 5-1. The losses dropped the Skips’ record to 3-7.

   “We had the chances to score but we didn’t get the hits when we needed them,” SC4 Coach Ron Matthews said. “The team hadn’t played in a couple of weeks and it showed.  We were shaky at the beginning but after a few innings, we played very solid.”

   Skippers’ sophomore Jordyn Denomme pitched the first game. She held the Scots to four runs in the first six innings but a three run seventh sealed the deal for Alma.

   “Both pitchers got a little tired in the end,” Matthews said. “It would be nice to have a third pitcher. We’re forced to go with two pitchers which can be tough.”

   In the second game, freshman Jackie Highstreet held Alma to one run in five innings in her first start of the year. However, Alma scored three in the sixth and another in the seventh to break a 1-1 tie.

   “I thought Highstreet pitched well for her first game,” Matthews said. “We just weren’t hitting the ball like we have been.”

   The Alma Scots raised their record to 6-0.

   “We came here with a couple of pitchers that aren’t usually our regular ones,” Alma Coach Denny Griffin said. “They did an excellent job today by keeping the ball down and keeping their good hitters from doing too much damage.

   “We got the hits when we needed them. We maintained high energy in a cold weather condition.”

   Skippers’ freshman Hannah Jones felt positive despite the results.

   “Alma is a pretty good team,” she said. “We played with first game jitters and it showed. We’re getting used to playing together. Once we get the chemistry going, I’m really excited for the future.”

   SC4 returns to play two league home dates at Pine Grove Park this week. On Thursday, the Lady Skippers play Macomb Community College at 3 p.m. Saturday,

April 10 SC4 will face Alpena with a start time of 1 p.m.

O. D.‘s Rant 57-13

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

Cheers to MSU’s NCAA tournament play. The naysayers didn’t have them even picked to make it through the first round. However, without their best player they made a great run.

Usually, I would never cheer for any team that defeated Sparty. However, the Butler Bulldogs come from a second tier conference and have earned the grudging respect of many of us green and whiters (although some say the foul situation gave the Bulldogs an extra link to their chain).

Remember the SC4 baseball team plays their games at Sanborn Park and the softball squad battles at Pine Grove Park. Come out and support your college athletes.

Now for the scoop. Many do not realize that our athletic programs do not have the scholarship allocations that other schools are given in the Michigan Community College Athletic Association. Walk-ons are more necessary in our athletic program than in other schools. Athletic Director Dale Vos addressed this discrepancy.

“Here are some ballpark figures,” Vos said. “Schoolcraft and Oakland have 12 tuition waivers (i.e. 12 players get all of their tuition paid for). Mott gets enough dollars to give 10 players in-district 12- hour scholarships.

“Kirtland get enough money to give eight players 15-hour in-district scholarships. Alpena gets 200 credit hours to allocate per year. Wayne County had eight tuition waivers, but I don’t know what they are going to come back with next year.

“In contrast, SC4 received $6932 this year. At $94 per hour (in-district tuition and fees) – that gives us 73.74 total hours to allocate,” Vos continued. “Delta and Macomb have roughly the same scholarship distribution as us and Henry Ford receives no athletic aid.”

What this tells O.D. is what a great success rate SC4 has accomplished with a minimal amount of money to be allocated to draw student athletes. Kudos to all in the athletic department that have made our sports programs so successful!

Go Gunners! As Arsenal chases their first English Premier League football (soccer for ye Yanks) title in years, there is a three way log jam between them, Chelsea and Manchester United (boo!!!).

For those who still believe that soccer is an effete sport, tune into the EPL or the European Champions League. Better yet, take a couple weeks off for this summer’s World Cup.

Icehawks edge Bloomington

Donald Lierman          

Sports Editor

   The Icehawks gaveth yet the Icehawks managed to taketh away.

   After squandering a two goal lead to take the game to overtime, Hawks’ Matt Auffrey performed his version of the spin-a-rama to give Port Huron the win.

   The final score was Port Huron 4, Bloomington 3 at McMorran on Tuesday, March 30.

   “We went with three forwards in overtime and one defenseman,” Port Huron Coach Stan Drulia said. We were down two defensemen so we tried to go for it. The team got their chances and Auffrey was able to get the big goal.”

   Mike Kinnie of Port Huron opened the scoring ten minutes into the game with his 20th of the season. Bloomington tied the game before the end of the third period.

    Kinnie scored another two and a half minutes into the second to give the Hawks the lead, 2-1. 

   “Mike Kinnie can shoot,” Drulia said. “He’s dangerous every time he gets the puck.  What’s more, he has been very responsible defensively this year. 

   “His line (Peter Flache and Robert Cowan) plays the game right, plays it smart, and knows how to play the defensive side.”

   Kinnie agreed on his line’s play.

   “We’ve got a lot of games between us,” he said. “We’re probably the most experienced line on the team. The line knows what to do to get the puck to the net.”
   On a four on three power play, Brandon Naurato scored to make the score 3-1 with less than three minutes on the clock in the second period. Naurato’s goal was his 24th of the year.

   Bloomington cut the lead to one in less than a minute into the third period. Later, the Prairie Thunder tied the score on Craig Macdonald’s third goal of the night.

   “We played forty excellent minutes,” Drulia said. “Then we got ourselves down to four defensemen. The team turned the puck over twice and Bloomington got right back in the game.

   “We were unable to get any shots in the third. At one point we were down fourteen to one in shots.”

   Auffrey’s overtime goal saved the day.

   “There was not much of an angle to shoot,” Auffrey said.  “I didn’t want to give the puck up but as I turned away, there was a shot.”

   The Dayton Gems visit McMorran on Sunday, April 11. Face off time is 5 p.m. For further Icehawks information, visit www.porthuronicehawks.com.

Icehawks crush Quad City

Donald Lierman          

Sports Editor

   A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go….  If Elmer Fudd handled ducks the way Port Huron man-handled the Quad City Mallards, Donald would be in bird heaven.

   When the feathers finally settled on Friday, April 2 at McMorran, the Icehawks had flown away with a 6-0 victory. Icehawks goalie Larry Sterling stopped 26 shots while notching his 20th victory of the season.

   “We were solid from start to finish,” Port Huron Coach Stan Drulia said. “We had a couple breakdowns early but we battled back.

   “I liked our desperation that we showed at times when we were vulnerable. The team didn’t make it easy for them. Our battle was very good and when there was a breakdown Larry (Sterling) was there for us.”

   Port Huron’s Mike Kinnie opened the scoring for the Icehawks at 5:42 of the first period. A minute later, Hawks’ Mickael Bedard scored his 33rd goal of the year to make it 2-0. After Hawks’ Kris Vernarsky scored a power play goal six minutes later, the die was cast.

   Two minutes later Port Huron’s Peter Flache made it 4-0 with his 7th goal of the campaign.

   “We have three excellent lines,” Flache said. “Guys are coming back into the lineup … all of whom can play. When everyone plays to their potential, it is no wonder you get six different scorers in a game like this.”

   The Icehawks added one in the second and one in the third to seal the deal.

   Sterling played down his shutout after the game.

   “It was more important for me to get a win than the shutout because it’s been quite a while for me,” he said. “The shutout is nice but the only reason I’ve got it is because we played a 60 minute game tonight.

   “Forget how many goals we scored,” Sterling said. “Our defense paved the way. They had only one or two odd man rushes. It was tough for them to move the puck as we always had a forward responsible in the offensive zone. That’s the way we need to play the rest of the year.”

   Drulia knows a second place finish will be tough.

   “I think we are going to have to win out to get the second seed,” Drulia said. “The energy on the bench and the commitment by the players we saw tonight …  we have to continue this for the next month.”

   The Dayton Gems visit McMorran on Sunday, April 11. Face off time is 5 p.m. For further Icehawks information, visit www.porthuronicehawks.com.

Yeah, Babeeee!!

Hail to the victors; SC4 celebrates MCCAA Eastern Conference Tournament Championship.
Hail to the victors; SC4 celebrates MCCAA Eastern Conference Tournament Championship. Photo by Donald Lierman

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

March Madness finally arrives. Let the banners be unfurled.

For the first time in school history, Saint Clair County Community College will progress to the nation junior college championships.

The Skippers defeated the Henry Ford Hawks, 83-78, at Mott Community College on Saturday, March 6 in their third consecutive tournament victory.

“Our team kept together and kept battling,” SC4 Coach Dale Vos said. “We may have led down the stretch but we trailed a lot of different times during the game. After leading 80-71, we find ourselves down 80-78. Yet, we found a way.”

The lead changed hands numerous times throughout the game. With minutes remaining, the Hawks sparked a seven point run to cut the Skippers lead to two. SC4’s Kieon Arkwright dropped three of four free throws to put the game out of reach in the final minute.

“After they cut the lead to two,” Vos said, “Kieon grabbed a big rebound. We then grabbed one, lost it, and Kieon pulled it away. Then Marquis Lee grabbed another big one, all in the last minute.

“These are small guys by basketball standards. They just went up and seized the initiative.”

Arkwright was named tournament Most Valuable Player. Eric Mack, Jr. was named to the All-Tournament team.

“I couldn’t have been MVP without the help of my teammates,” Arkwright said. “This is more than an MVP, it’s a team award.”

On his last minutes heroics, Arkwright added, “I knew if we wanted to get to the nationals, I needed to make the extra effort to bring the guys home. I wanted to come through for them.”

Vos, who has been named All-Tournament as well as MCCAA Eastern Conference Coach of the Year, acknowledged the team had to overcome a lack of team height if not heart.

“At one of our last pre-season meetings,” Vos said, “I told the guys that unless the next coming of Shaquille O’Neal walks into the room, this is your team. We’re not very big so you are going to have to overcome that. So start thinking right now how much effort that will take.”

Arkwright led the Skippers with 26 points and six rebounds. Marquis Lee added 18 points and  Mack, Jr. 16 points in the Skippers’ victory.

The road to the championship began the prior Tuesday with an 84-75 victory over the Kirtland Firebirds.

To get to the finals, SC4 defeated the Oakland Raiders, 78-73. Despite leading by 13 at the half, the Skippers were forced to scramble to pull out the win. Mack led the scoring with 20 points while Arkwright added 14.

“With four or five minutes left I thought we’re going to lose this one because we can’t make any free throws,” Vos said. “I am proud of our kids for the way they answered their runs and closed the game out.

“Give Oakland credit. They made adjustments and came out in the second half and jammed the ball inside. We weren’t able to do a good job of stopping that. We let them tie it but I don’t believe we let them take the lead.”

To set up the championship, Henry Ford defeated last year’s National Championship team, the hometown Mott Bears, by one point. Mott had the Skippers’ number this year with two defeats over SC4. Some say fate is unstoppable. Sometimes you’re just in the zone.

O. D. ‘s Rant 57-12

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

The SC4 men’s basketball team not only made college history this year by making it to the national tournament but performed not too shabbily there either.

The Skippers dropped their first game at the NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Danville, Illinois to Lewis & Clark College (IL) by a score of 78-70.

They won their next two games against Bismarck State College (ND), 93-87, and Monroe CC (NY), 83-67. Finally, on Saturday, March 20, they were downed by Pima (AZ), 59-52.

“We were very disappointed when we lost the opener to Lewis and Clark,” Coach Dale Vos said.  “However, as has been the case with this team all year, we got up and went to work and still finished eighth in the nation, no small feat.

“I just love the work ethic, togetherness, teamwork and defensive intensity of this team. I also love the leadership and love for each other that this team displayed all year.

“What a great ride they gave me and the rest of the coaching staff.”

O.D. say conceptualize ‘dis, please. As a community college, SC4 has two year turnover.  Coach Vos and his staff have two years to mold a team for basically one run per group of players.  Add to that a scholarship difference and boom, was ‘dis not amazing?

Congratulations to all involved. The college should honor these student athletes for their achievements. Be proud. Be a Skipper!

All I can say is ha ha ha, University of North Carolina. Your arrogance, after last year’s victory over MSU, reaped just deserts. Who cares if you win the NIT? You’re a classless organization who didn’t make the Big Dance after winning the year before. Come on. Brag about how great your team is now, coach.

My Wings. First, you knock off Calgary in Calgary with less than two minutes to go. Then, on to Edmonton to tie the game with .5 seconds left. Saturday, you win in overtime in Vancouver with .3 seconds remaining in overtime.

Despite all the injuries, the Red Wings have battled back to make a run for the Cup again.  Forget the Miracle Mets. With the injury (knock on wood) curse fading and those players hitting mid-season form now, look forward to some fun when the playoffs begin.

I cannot get over the negativity towards the Detroit Lions looking at Adam “Pacman” Jones as a potential free agent. Hey, you forgive Michael “I am so tough I torture and murder dogs” Vick.

At least Jones is man enough to whomp on his fellow humans. Give me a mean Jones over a cowardly Vick any day of the week.

1.5 million dollars, no doubt someone in the league would pay Judas Iscariot the same if he could throw a football. Of course, it was Philadelphia who signed Vick.

Icehawks edge Generals

Photo by Donald Lierman; Peter Flache, number eight for Icehawks, goes head to head with a Muskegon Lumberjacks player.
Photo by Donald Lierman; Peter Flache, number eight for Icehawks, goes head to head with a Muskegon Lumberjacks player.

Donald Lierman

Sports Editor

For the first fifty minutes, the game was all Port Huron’s. The Icehawks flew up and down the ice, seemingly at will.

The last ten minutes were a different story.

Port Huron allowed four goals in the last ten minutes but held on to defeat the Flint Generals, 6-5, at McMorran Arena on Saturday, March 20.

“We got complacent with a 6-1 lead,” Icehawks’ Coach Stan Drulia said. “We took a dumb penalty, let them get the second one, and stopped playing. I’m obviously not happy. I gave it to the guys pretty good. But in their defense, you don’t know what a penalty is anymore.

“The officiating was disgusting again tonight. The referee was undoubtedly refereeing the score.  There’s no call when we were getting hooked in the slot but then something goes minor our way and he calls it. Those penalties gave them the opportunity to climb back in. It was part us but the officiating was also lacking.”

The Icehawks opened the scoring at the eight minute mark of the first period as Kerry Bowman shoveled a pass across the net to be tipped in by Nick Lindberg for goal number 14 of the season.

Seven minutes later Ian Turner shot a knuckler that Peter Flache deflected past the Flint goalie to make it 2-0.

After Flint halved the lead in the second period, Port Huron’s Mike Kinnie tallied the first of his three goals. The Icehawks’ Derek Patrosso followed with a shorthanded goal, his 26th of the year.

Kinnie scored his second of the night late in the second period then completed his hat trick with his 17th goal of the season, three minutes into the third period.

“It was great to get Mike back in the lineup,” Port Huron’s Captain Kris Vernarsky said. “He always adds offense to our lineup. However, we need to remember we always have to put out a 60 minute effort this time of the year.

“Flint is fighting for a playoff spot. We got away from the little things, took a couple of bad penalties on which they scored, and that’s a game changer right there.”

Flint scored four unanswered goals but Port Huron held them off in the final minutes for the win.

“We have to keep a high level of confidence going into the playoffs,” Vernarsky said. “We need to work on the little things and enter the first round on a roll.”

Drulia agrees that work needs to be done.

“We’ve got some work to do if we’re going to move up the ladder,” he said. “We need to play the game the right way. We’re getting some of our guys back from injury and that will hopefully push the envelope for us.”

The Bloomington Prairie Thunder returns to McMorran to battle the Hawks on Tuesday, March 30. Face off time is 7 p.m. For further Icehawks’ information, visit   www.porthuronicehawks.com.