Warriors had a good run

May 5, 2014

Their season ended more than 3,000 miles from home up in Fairbanks, Alaska.

It’s over, perhaps, but not forgotten.

Michigan Warriors can reflect on a 2013-2014 North American Hockey League season and tuck it away under good memories.

The Warriors battled through a rugged North Division landscape to finish second in the six-team region before ousting the third-place Janesville Jets and top-seeded Port Huron Fighting Falcons in back-to-back playoff sets to advance to the NAHL’s Robertson Cup title tournament.

The Flint-based Warriors then had to fly to Alaska for a Robertson Cup semi-final series with the Fairbanks Ice Dogs where the Michigan marathon ended with back-to-back setbacks.

Still, it was a good season for the Warriors, who under grizzled coach Moe Mantha, made it to the Robertson Cup for the second time in the four years that the team has been in Flint.

A 30-20-10 regular-season record was followed by a 6-1 mark in the North Division playoffs before two close losses up in Fairbanks at the Robertson Cup ended the Warriors grit-and-grind run.

Looking ahead to the 2014-2015 campaign, the Warriors will carry on without graduated forwards Zack Szajner, Colin Larkin, TJ Stuntz, Jake Hopfner, Connor Lyons and defencemen Jake Faiella, Sean Campbell and Jake Fairchild.

And while 15 players can return in 2014-2015, a few of those eligibles will move on or up.

Those who have NAHL time remaining include goalie Trevor Gorsuch, defencemen Ryan Dougherty, Cody Lichtenvoort, Josh Shellman and forwards Tyler Groat, Jon Farkas, Colin Horton, Alec Pellegrino et al.

Pellegrino, a bruiser, finished the season on the injured list but as a 1995 birth-year, is a prime prospect.

As well, the Warriors have tendered two top players from the Flint Jr. Generals of the North American 3 Hockey League for 2014-2015: defenceman Ryan Burr and forward Conor Durgan.

PHOTO: Defenceman Josh Shellman can return to the Michigan Warriors for the 2014-2015 season. (NAHL photo.)

What you think about “Warriors had a good run”

  1. Great article Randy Russon! Your coverage of the Michigan Warriors is far superior to our own local media here in the Flint area. Keep up the fine work Sir.

    1. #1 coverage of our Warriors by a country mile! I agree!!

      So Wardog there is a rumor that Coach Mantha will no be back as Coach next yr that will he be the GM and that John Jepson will be the Head Coach.

      1. Thanks for the information Warriors2014. This is the first I have heard of the rumor. Coach Moe is a dandy behind the bench. I have no doubt he would be successful in anything that concerns hockey, including the role of GM. If this rumor is true, then I wish Coach Jepson the best. I am comforted by the fact that he has learned much from one of the masters.

  2. Although my Warriors crying towel is soaking wet right now, I can say honestly say that only 10% of the moisture is from tears of sadness about what might have been. The other 90% of the moisture is from tears of JOY for the magnificent season that this team put together in 2013-2014. To those Warrior players who graduated or will move on next season, a huge THANK YOU is in order for all the wonderful memories you gave me this year. Once a Warrior, always a Warrior, and you will always be welcomed with open arms at Perani Arena. To those players who will suit up in a Warriors jersey next season, I have already purchased season tickets and cannot wait for the puck to drop on the 2014-2015 season. More great memories will be made at that time. GO WARRIORS! Let me close by giving a huge shout out to Coach Moe Mantha and his very capable Assistant Coach Jon Jepson! Well done men, well done!

  3. As a fan the coverage was awesome by Randy…As a parent it was one of the best life lines for info outside of the normal parent / team channels. Thanks to all the fans for the great support of our boys and to the players you have my respect & admiration. To our son. We are very proud of you.Come on home to Texas we have been missing you huge!

    1. And a BIG THANK YOU goes out to the Stuntz family! Thanks for letting us hockey fans here in Flint, Michigan borrow your son for a while. T.J. Stuntz wore the Warrior jersey with pride and gave us many a thrill up here! We will never forget what a wonderful hockey player and likable young man he is. Good job Mom and Dad Stuntz!

  4. One last thing from a dad.

    Thank you MOE MANTHA!

    I could not of chosen an better role model to help foster the man my son has grown up to be.

    To the rest of the Warrior organization thank you for all your help and direction from a thousand miles away.

    To the best billet family in the world “Gina & Travis Pike” we love you for the care given to TJ like he was one of your own.

  5. WarDog1 thank you for such kind words. You made my wife and me very emotional after reading your comments. As a parents one of your greatest hopes is that you raise your kids to become great adults. I am proud of my son’s athletic ability, but I am more proud of the man he has become. His time in Michigan will certainly stay with him his entire life.

    I am sure he feels the same way about the fans as the fans feel about him. Go Warriors!

  6. What a nice article, as a Fairbanks fan I want to thank the Warriors for a great and exciting series up here. In 2011 I had to watch the Championship game (same 2 teams) on the internet, it was great to see them in person. That year, the Ice Dogs needed to come from behind before finally prevailing.

    There is more parity in the league each year, especially this season. Look at the win percentage for the clubs, it is getting tighter all the time. more players are moving up every year, the NAHL is now a premier hunting ground for D1 scouts. I have little doubt these two great teams will meet again at the big show.

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