Wildcats start season hot, rout Canton 6-2

Junior goalkeeper Riley Demeester makes a save off of a wildcat shot.
Junior goalkeeper Riley Demeester makes a save off of a wildcat shot.
Lucas Gentilia

Winter sports have arrived at P-CEP, and so has the Wildcats hockey team. Plymouth has started hot this season improving to 2-0 after beating the Canton Chiefs 6-2 at the Plymouth Cultural Center on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2023.

Park rivalry games are always heated. No matter if it’s boys or girls, no matter the sport, no matter the teams, Park matchups always carry an extra amount of intensity, and Wednesday night’s face-off was no different.

Plymouth starters prepare for their game against Canton during the National Anthem. Nov. 23, 2023. (Lucas Gentilia)

With this being the only time the two Park teams will play each other all year, Plymouth head coach Brian Dallas was happy they were able to get a win. “All these games in the Park are fun. They’re exciting and they have a little extra energy and a little extra bite,” said Dallas. “I’m sure they walk out with a little extra pride tonight winning that game and being able to walk around the Park [with that win].”

Canton has a much younger team than in years past with only five seniors and four juniors on their roster. The Chiefs also have two freshmen on their varsity roster in defenseman Jason Sharbaugh and goaltender Will Schley.

With ten minutes left in the first period, Plymouth struck first when junior James Darty took it himself after a pass from senior, Noah Smentowski, skating left and right, dodging defenders before blasting the puck past Canton junior goaltender, Riley Demeester.

In the first period, the Chiefs had many chances but couldn’t find the back of the net due to an abundance of saves from senior goaltender Tanner Olepa.

Olepa, a two-sport athlete playing baseball in the spring, recently committed to Kellogg University where he’ll play baseball in the spring of 2025.

Plymouth Goaltenders, Tanner Olepa and Flynn Bright exit the rink after their game. Nov. 23, 2023. (Lucas Gentilia)

Dallas was impressed with Olepa’s performance on the ice on Wednesday, “It’s an important game for him, and he played really well in it,” said Dallas, “I know he wanted to win that game so I feel real good for him.”

In the second period, the Wildcats added three more goals, stretching their lead to 4-0. With goals coming from junior Jackson Warzecha, senior James Romps, and senior Alex Griffin who scored a buzzer-beating goal to end the second period.

Senior captain Romps was happy with how his team played: “Once I scored and the boys started getting going, we opened the floodgates and we ended pretty well.”

Romps was glad the team didn’t shut down after getting out to an early lead: “I’m proud that we didn’t let down,” said Romps. “In the past, we would [collapse] when [games] got tight, but today we kept going, so I was happy about that.”

The third period featured a lot of action as the Chiefs tried climbing back into the game. Despite an early goal from Plymouth’s senior forward, Ryan Belanger, Canton scored two of their own. With eight minutes left in the period, junior Brayden Irvin received a penalty for hooking, giving the Chiefs a much-needed power play. The Chiefs would take advantage of Irvin’s mistake as freshman Will Schley scored his first goal of the night in between Plymouth defenders.

Junior Jack Chadwick smiles in the penalty box after receiving a penalty for roughing at the end of the third period. Nov. 23, 2023. (Lucas Gentilia)

With two and a half minutes left in the game, sophomore Cameron James scored to eat away at the Wildcats lead. Warzecha scored his second goal of the game just 14 seconds later.

Even with a large lead, Canton played with a lot of aggression. With just one minute left in the game, a fight broke out behind the Canton goal started by Canton junior Nick Parrish. While the refs tried to break the fight up, others joined in racking up multiple penalties for both teams. Parrish received two penalties for the brawl, both roughing.

Next up:

Plymouth will look to stay undefeated when they take on Stevenson on Nov. 30 at Eddie Edgar Ice Arena at 8:00 p.m.

Canton will look to bounce back after their most recent loss to Northville as they play Hartland on Nov. 30 at Hartland Ice House at 7:00 p.m.

Plymouth v.s. Canton 11/23/23
Plymouth Stats


  • James Darty
  • Jackson Warzecha x2
  • James Romps
  • Alex Griffin
  • Ryan Belanger


  • Noah Smentowski
  • Quinn Fitchett x3
  • Matt LeClair x2


  • Griffin Gallaher - tripping
  • Brayden Irvin - hooking
  • James Darty - too many players
  • Jack Chadwick - roughing
  • Adrian Clarke - roughing
Canton Stats


  • Will Schley
  • Cameron James


  • Nick Parrish
  • Kevin Jariett


  • Kevin Jariett - head contact
  • Dylan Brooks - holding
  • John Nickel - hooking
  • Zach Woelke - hooking
  • Nick Parrish - roughing x2
  • Luke Amos - roughing
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About the Contributor
Lucas Gentilia, Business Manager / Sports Editor
Lucas Gentilia is a senior at Salem High School that loves being surrounded by friends and other energetic people. He is involved in all types of activities, including The National Honor Society, Student Council 2024, Link Crew, the Salem Rocks Baseball Team and The Perspective newspaper staff. His life isn’t always centered around school however; he is in love with music, and always has an Airpod in his ear. He enjoys artists like Mac Miller, Mac Demarco and Kendrick Lamar. In addition, he loves weightlifting, golf and watching sports in person whenever he can.

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