Hockey: Eagles fly into Jilek AA Cup with a 6-1 record and something to prove

The Skyline hockey team skates into the upcoming Dan Jilek Ann Arbor Cup Hockey Tournament if not the favorite, certainly a contender. The Eagles lost in last year’s final to FGR/Greenhills and it’s one of those boxes on this year’s to-do list they can try to check off in the first week of the new year.

On Friday, Jan. 3, Skyline will face FGR/Greenhills at 5 p.m. Pioneer will play Huron at 7:30 p.m. The semifinal losers will play at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 4. The championship game will follow at 7:30 p.m.

Skyline heads into the Jilek with a 6-1 overall record following a tough loss to a talented Pioneer team – another contender. The Eagles led 4-2 before Pioneer scored five times in the third period to win the crosstown rivalry match.

“Our team is doing well,” says Skyline Coach Jake Stripp. “I think we have finally found a good lineup and our lines have good chemistry.”

Skyline is getting contributions from many players. Four players have scored at least a point in all seven games – Isaac Lippert (20 points), Jamie Newton (19), Ryan Schmunk (13) and Sei Nakamura (10).

“Isaac Lippert has been having an absolutely unreal start,” said Stripp. “He has been the best player on the ice every game, been a phenomenal leader, and has done a great job of dictating the pace of the game.”

Lipper, a senior captain who was First Team All-SEC and honorable mention All-State last year, has a team-best 20 points, is plus 17, and has a 85 percent face off percentage. He has played over 30 minutes every game and has only taken one penalty this year.

“I believe his play should put him in the conversation for Mr. Hockey, but he is an even better person,” Stripp says. “He just got accepted to U-M and I couldn’t be more proud of the young man he has become.”

The Eagles will get their first shot at redemption in the semifinals against the Irish on Friday, Jan. 3. And could very likely get another shot at Pioneer in the championship game. While it won’t be an easy road for the Eagles, it certainly would be a rewarding one if they can pull it off.