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Sault Ste. Marie preps for season opener

SAULT STE. MARIE – As the fall high school athletic calendar nears its conclusion, the start of the hockey season is upon us.

A Division 3 quarterfinalist a year ago, Sault Ste. Marie is eyeing a return to the state finals after upping its competition level this season.

After opening their season with a pair of home contests this weekend, the Blue Devils hit the road for 11 consecutive games, not returning home until a Jan. 8 meeting with Grosse Pointe North.

"We’re allowed a 25-game schedule and we have 24 different teams this year around the state that we’re playing,” Sault Ste. Marie coach John Ferroni said. “I’m hoping they all bring a little bit of a different game to us, so we have to adjust as we go and it just makes us smarter players and a smarter group."

Included in that 25-game schedule are dates with defending Division 2 state champion Birmingham Brother Rice and 2015 Division 3 state semifinalist Flint Powers, as well as 2015 regional champions Traverse City Central and Traverse City West.

"A harder schedule just prepares us for playoffs and that’s really what matters,” senior Travis Zaborowski said.  “So, if we have to go to play hard teams then I guess we’ll do it."

Sault Ste. Marie opens its season Friday at Pullar Stadium, hosting Jeffers at 8 p.m.