What a weekend. To kick things off on Thursday St. Ignatius was taken to over time, by St. Ed's. Ignatius, the best and deepest team in the state, and state history won that contest 4-3.
Then on Friday evening. The Sylvania Northview Wildcats, who are seemingly putting the best team they have had in some time on the ice as well, stumbled?
Entering the Padua tournament at Hoover Arena, the Wildcats tie Lake Catholic 3-3. Now don't get me wrong Lake is a good team, and consistently so every year. But Lake was handily beaten by St. Ignatius 7-2 this year and again by 4-2 by University School. So if a Sylvania squad is be considered a contender, we should assume they win, and show dominance in the process. They just did not deliver. In consistency, has been the undoing of the Wildcats for decades. Both under head coach of record Cooper, and now Jones. Who's Wildcats came out two years ago in his second year as at the controls in the state championship against St. Ignatius were just dominated.
Well this veteran Jones team rebounded. Taking on tournament host Padua, Saturday morning. It was a pleasure to be on hand Saturday for all the games. The Sylvania squad took the ice, and command of the game all three periods. Wining the game 6-0.
That evening contest with Ed's would look to be a real test. Especially when you consider Eds only dressed what looked to be their 3rd and 4th lines for their game against Findlay to end the morning. Which Ed's won 6-1.
Eds and Sylvania battled the whole game. I was very impressed by how the officials had charge of the games, and let the boys play. Sure there were hits with high hands and elbows that were not called, some interference calls not made, but this was all both ways. A very balanced game by my count and with only two officials on the ice the games were well called as expected.
Now it is my belief, that in first period as my notes read. We may have, potentially seen a Ohio High School first, or as the case may be the first to be reported, in an in game situation. I will examine my footage of the game, and make some calculations, but I believe that those in attendance saw if not triple digit slap shot, darn near. This shot came in the first period during the Sylvania power play around 6 min 30 sec remaining in the period. Sylvania's Dalton Carter #25 got all of a one timer that lazed off the post. This on the heels of another good hard snap shot,t hat had done the same. Carter is well known in the state, and is currently being observed by Jr hockey teams and his exceptional shot is no secret. At any rate if it was not, it was sure close, and was just darn memorable. Yet there is good reason why he hit the post, it was all a solid Eds goalie was giving him. Which in turn lead to St. Ed's drawing first blood near the end of the first.
This game was very even. Eds dominating the physical game, and Sylvania looking more skillful to this point. These thoughts did however fluctuate, as Eds skills and Sylvania's physicality seemed to ebb and flow like the ocean tides. At 3:53 to go in the first St Eds players: Norton, Greenacker, Price, Zirneskie and Glover found the twine, striking first blood. The start of the Second was marked by a Sylvania penalty and an Eds PP goal. Where it seems the Trio of Crosby, King and Barthalamew where those forwards on the attack. So there we were early in the 2nd session with the Eagles in a commanding lead 2-0 over the Wildcats.
The Wildcats would however bounce back and score 3 unanswered goals to end a very exciting 2nd period. For Eagles fans this seemed to bring to life flash backs of Thursdays battle with St. Ignatius. Again Wildcats, only this time they were Northview Cats. Mimicking that Thursday game right down to the Eagles pulling their tender and applying a full 6 man attack. This time however the Cats, Northview cats that is, took the puck drove home an empty net goal to end the contest at 4-2. What we take away from this contest is what we have always known. That being when two exceptional teams take the ice, we will be fully entertained for at least 3 periods of play.
Sylvania moved in to their Sunday morning game against University school. Where the game was a stalemate at the end of 2 periods, but both team having earned enough tournament points, to land them in the championship game. The teams elected to call the game a draw, and retire to their locker rooms and make ready for the final game.
Now this final game featuring University School and Sylvania Northview likely saw nuance adjustments to game plans, in addition to the goalie changes. As every team in Padua was working a tandem that was in full rotation, game to game. The final put University School Sr goalie #1 Sam Althans against Sylvania Sr. #30 Austin Gryca. The final sees something happen. Not being on hand I will speculate that either or both of the following happens as so ofter does in the "big game". University surrenders 5 goals in the first period of play. Pulling Althans and putting in Andrew Mergerian, who surrenders only one goal in 4 periods against Northview (combining game 1 and the final). U.S. may have just caved under the pressure. Northview reportedly dominated all three zones, and seemed to reach a new level of ability, not seen any Northview team since the Hirschfeld days.
End of the day, while some what telling. This is one tournament, on the leading edge of mid-season. How many times has a Sylvania team looked good mid season, only to choke come playoffs, or peak to early. How many times has the mid season King of Cleveland not made states either after a dominate season. Who els is equally frustrated that state still doesn't offer a Varsity A division and B each with their own state titles, and for not taking the best four teams from each district, and having them all play a play off for the state title, ensuring the top two teams in the state meet in the final game. The only thing we know for sure at this juncture, is that the only way Sylvania, and Ignatius meet, is in the Championship final. For that to happen perfection needs remain the constant for both squads, where Ignatius has yet face any number of teams in Cleveland that can put them in their grave, and Sylvania faces the same in Toledo. Enjoy the season, this is a good one.
***I would like to add here, that on January 1st the Scouting Ohio High School Hockey blog will be releasing a public look at the individual player rankings, and reports of the States elite prospects. These are the same reports as seen by Jr teams in the USA and Canada. The blog is also adding a new feature, where we will be publishing 1 on 1 interviews with the states elite prospects, and coaches. Those requested for interview will be receiving or will have received emails over the next several weeks. They will posted in the order they are returned.
Please note in the above where refernce to the Dalton Carter slap shot is made. When viewing the footage on the big screen the following determinations have concluded.
1. The player is not #25 Dalton Carter, but #21 Brady Storer of Sylvania Northview 2. The shot originates from inside the top of the circle 33' feet from the net. 3. The shot takes 7.5 film frames to reach the post on camera set at 30frames per/second for an elapsed time of .25 seconds 4. The math
(d/5280)/(T/3600)=mph where d is distance in feet and T is time in seconds
still moving, nice shot Brady Storer.