BY ED WRIGHT
Feb. 6, 2010, 9 p.m.
The Kathy Lash Cup was decided Saturday afternoon at Compuware Arena and the winner was nowhere in sight.
Thanks to Canton's 3-0 victory over host Plymouth, Salem skated away with its second consecutive Lash Cup, which goes to the PCEP boys hockey team that compiles the best head-to-head record against the other two schools.
The Chiefs' impressive victory also tightened things up in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association's South Divisions, which currently has three teams with 5-3-1 records atop the logjam: Plymouth, Churchill and Salem.
Overall, Canton improved to 10-9-1 while Plymouth slipped to 15-4-1.
Canton coach Jeremy Majszak commended the play of two of his players: goalie Ryan Bazner, who stopped all 26 shots he faced, and Phil Baciak, who continued his strong second half of the season by factoring in on every goal (one goal and two assists).
"If I was giving out a No. 1 star, Ryan and Phil would have to share it," Majszak said. "Ryan played really well. He made a lot of key saves and stepped up when we needed him to.
"Phil was our best offensive player today. He made some very big plays in a game in which was dominated by defense."
Following a scoreless first period, Canton was staked to a 1-0 lead mid-way through the second stanza when Taylor Baker converted on a two-on-one play with Baciak, who earned the assist.
"Taylor ended up banking it off the back of the goal, so we got a little break there, but Taylor and Phil made a good play.
"That first goal was huge because it seemed to open it up for us. We missed two empty nets in the first quarter, so finally scoring gave the guys a lift."
Canton doubled its lead to 2-0 with approximately nine minutes left in the contest when AJ Rosales slid a perfect pass to Josh Dickson, who deposited the puck into the back of the net to finish off a power play.
Two minutes later, Baciak extended the Chiefs' cushion to 3-0 when scored on another Canton power play.
"The team has really been playing well lately," noted Majszak. "We're 7-3 since Christmas playing a very competitive schedule. The guys are really working hard and coming together."
The Chiefs will play in a pre-regional tournament the first week of March that includes Farmington and Livonia Franklin. The winner advances to the regional that includes three downriver teams, including multi-time state champion Trenton.
Canton closes out its KLAA schedule on Wednesday with a 6 p.m. game at Livonia Stevenson.