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Byron Center tops Marquette, advances to first-ever state hockey finals

Luke Nickolaus with four points in the 5-1 win
Byron Center hockey advances to state finals
Posted at 7:52 PM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 23:04:40-04

PLYMOUTH, Mich. — Byron Center senior Luke Nickolaus scored two goals and assisted on two more in the state semifinal win over Marquette on Thursday night.

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 2-0 lead at first intermission after goals from Nickolaus and sophomore Brady Breit.

In the second, Nickolaus would add his second before third period tallies from senior Josh Froysland and a second from Breit, making it 5-1 the final.

Byron Center 5, Marquette 1

It's the first-ever trip to the state championship game for Byron Center hockey, which is still in its infancy.

"It's a huge deal for our program, a fifth year program to be in the state championship, that just speaks volumes to what we have going in Byron Center," said head coach, Taylor Keyworth.

"The kids we have, the people we have behind the scenes, our athletic department supporting us and giving us all the resources to make all of this possible, we're proud to be from the west side and representing," Keyworth added.

And Nickolaus says he's thankful for everything he and the nine other seniors have gone through over the past few seasons to make Thursday's win feel even better.

"I don't even know what to say honestly," Luke Nickolaus said after the game, "we're one game away from the state championship, it's been a while since a west side team won so to be that close, it feels good. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves and we came out early and put the pressure on them."

And there's not one fan in the stands that was more supportive than Mason and Brady Breit's grandmother, who was praying the rosary throughout the game and didn't sit down the entire time.

"I just pray there aren't any injuries," she told FOX 17's Zach Harig.

As for her grandson and Byron Center senior forward, Mason Breit, he says her support means the world.

"She's the team grandma," he laughed, "she brings us cookies every game, the boys love coming back to the locker room and eating those up, I mean it's amazing, it's awesome having her here supporting us out there."

Of course, her prayers were answered as the Bulldogs now get set to play in the Division 2 state championship game on Saturday at 11 AM right back at USA Hockey Arena, against the winner of Brother Rice and Trenton.