Hockey’s miracle playoff run comes to an unexpected end after falling short in triple overtime


In a matter of unfortunate events for FHC, a triple-overtime loss to Mattawan in the regional semifinals ended a hard-fought season for a gritty team. This team never ever gave up, and it fought every game to the end. Junior Sammy Mielock scored the lone goal in a 2-1 loss against a very good Mattawan team, and sophomore goalie Peter Nemmers played another spectacular game.

The Rangers forced three overtimes in their final effort, and this proves the point that FHC was one of the hardest-playing hockey teams in the state. In the end, the Rangers forced 5 of their 26 games to overtime. The Rangers went 2-3 in OT games this season with wins over Bay Reps and the shootout victory over Bay City; even FHC’s losses came against impressive teams like Grand Rapids Catholic Central, East Grand Rapids, and Mattawan.

Head coach Bill McSween did another fantastic job at coaching the boys up in just his second season with the team. As a result of all the strides his team made this season, coach McSween was very proud of how his team fought all year long.

“The boys stuck together through adversity and allowed themselves to succeed,” coach McSween said. “I can’t express enough the admiration I have for our leaders this year.”

The Rangers finished inner conference play with a 4-6 record and notable wins over Lowell/Caledonia, East Grand Rapids, and Forest Hills Northern/Eastern. Out of conference, the Rangers picked up some very nice wins as well, beating teams such as Muskegon Reeths-Puffer, Jenison, Kenowa Hills, Fenton/Linden, Wyandotte, and most importantly, Grand Rapids Catholic Central—a team FHC hadn’t beat in over four years.

With this drought-shattering victory over Catholic Central, senior Lucas Jeffreys blessed the FHC community with a legendary quote.

“Man, it feels amazing. I’m at a loss for words right now,” Lucas said. “Just happy for this team and happy to play on it. Big shout-out to Peter and the team as a whole; we played a strong and hard game.”

Several players filled up the stat sheet throughout the season. Captain Lucas Jeffreys finished with 29 points, including 14 goals and a team-high 15 assists. Sammy Mielock, who led the team with 33 points scored 20 goals and had 13 assists. Senior captain Josh Smith racked up 18 points, junior Anthony Ott had 13 points, and sophomore Owen Barber, Eli Lipke, and Rocco Gonzalez all finished with 9 points. There were many highlight moments for the guys this season, all of which are clear as day in the players’ minds.

“I remember Lucas’s second goal in the third against Northern/Eastern, Rocco Gonzalez’s first-ever goal against EGR, and then the two that followed to give us the win very clearly,” Mielock said. “The first game and the overtime win up in Traverse City, the six-goal first period against Lowell/Cal; all of those moments were so memorable.”

The guys in the net played a strong season as well, as junior Justin Baehr, sophomore Peter Nemmers, and senior Jake Munger all split time. With a total of 682 shots on net, Munger made 53 saves, Baehr made 274, and Nemmers led the way with 287. On top of that, the three goalies finished the season with a combined save percentage of .881%. This corps also had two shutout wins against Lowell/Cal and Fenton/Linden, winning both contests 8-0.

Editor’s Note: I want to thank each and every Hockey parent who took the time out of their day to read my articles for the past two seasons. It means so much to me that these were some of the highest-viewed articles that I was able to produce. Going to hockey games was one of my favorite things to do for all my childhood and during my high school days. Second, I would like to thank all of the coaches that I didn’t get to interview during my time writing for this sport for all the hard work that they put in after completing a hard day of work with their main jobs. With that, to coach McSween, you are quite the personality. It has been an honor to be able to report for you these past two years, and thank you for always answering my many questions. Lastly, to the players over these past two seasons. I’ve known a lot of you guys for a very long time, and I’m glad you guys continued to play the sport you love. I wish you guys all the best of luck in your future, and like coach McSween, thank you for always answering my many questions. This will not be my final goodbye to FHC hockey, though, as one day I will be back to watch.