Saturday March 10, 2012 semifinal game one is at noon. Game is University School (#3) Vs. St. Ed's (#5). Game two is scheduled for 3pm and features Sylvania Northview (#2) Vs. Olentangy Orange (#19). Based on the brackets entering in to the finals, I would have to say that this year, while there were no changes to implement any sort seeding, that if there had been, it came out right. While if the OHSAA were a broken clock, they would be a worthless digital (not even right twice a day). This looks good. Reseeding would have placed the schools remaining 1. Northview, 2. St. Ed's 3. University School, and 4. Orange.
So what the heck happened? I think its a combination of performance peaks, rivalry games, resilience, team chemistry, experience and the ability to win. Playoffs are playoffs and as messed up and totally backward as the Ohio State Athletic Association is, these are playoffs. The cream rises to the top, and while its limited to the cream in that cup, its still cream, and its four cups.
So just between us...I dont gamble for a reason, and would never on the big games. My record at this point, from this last round, while still better than the state is at operating High School Hockey, is not good. There are upsets every, twists, turns and jagged edges. This year they were sprung late. I honestly had Ignatius playing University school, and Northview playing Jerome (after my real, real pick of Liberty died). What are my picks now, you ask. Well, don't place any bets on my account, but here is what I see.
In the high noon contest between University School and St. Ed's I am going with St. Ed's. This is an older and just better team that is finishing right. This is St. Ed's year, they Kyle Kruger G a SR, Christopher Day D a Sr, Mick Bartholomew F a Sr, Alec Gerred F SR, Nicolas Crosby F Sr, Alex Norton D a Sr, Brett Glover F a Sr, Thomas Mirabelli F Sr, Matt Geib D Sr, CJ Hoy F Sr, Josh Greenaker D sr, Richard Slaght F Sr, Ted Price SR, Logan Galati G sr, Andrew Smith G Sr. St. Ed's was in the final last year and lost an OT battle with another giant, St. Francis, look at it 2009 semi finals, 2011 finals, and Champions in 2008. This is St. Ed's 20th(11 First Place titles, King if you will) trip to the states final four. Eclipsing Bowling Green (19) (5 #1) They are also the team that just iced the team I say was the best ever in state history (that never made the final 4, cant be the best if you cant finish). University is no slouch when it comes to the final four. Nine trips and 2 titles of their own. University School has a better power rating of 12.17 to Ed's 12.06. University School has tallied 110 goals, and allowed 73, Ed's has tallied 98 goals and given up 77. University School is fully equipped with players like Wipper and Judson (one of the best blue liners in the state) and the big strong Forward DeGulis to win this game. I have to pick and Its Ed's for me.
That 3pm game finds us looking at Orange Vs. Northview. Orange and Northview never played each other this season, add in I never personally saw them play, so I find myself looking to some common opponents. Findlay jumps out, a 3-2 loss. Gilmour- a 2-0 win, Dublin Jerome 5-2 win, 2-5 loss, 1-4 loss, and the recent OT win. Humm, not a lot to go on. A state ranking of 19th, a power rating of 9.34. Northview is #2 has a power rating of 13.24, 1.7 pts behind St Ignatus and 1.09 pts ahead of University School and 1.11 pts ahead of St. Ed's. Goals For, Orange 163, 156 Northview. Goals against 73 Orange and 47 Northview. My assessment makes me think the Dark Horse Olentangy Orange has been playing at their best, peaked. Great timing. A hard fought path, the OT win and now playing in the state semifinals. I am backing the team that has to be favored here. Northview. Northview is living on a goalie rotation, its worked for them to this point, it generally doesnt work especially with short seasons like you see in High School and in NCAA hockey. I dont see how Northview looses this game, with out coming out on the ice down with illness, injury, or just plain not mentally ready. Northview, the school with 8 trips, and 4 brides maid dresses. This year they hit the playoffs with a core of Sr's who have some big stage experience.
* Added on MARCH 7-
It just dawned on me, but I never gave my full prediction. Saturday Game One Winner St Ed's. Game Two Sylvania.
State Champions? Well I love St Ed's experience, and team this year. Ed's did just knock off St. Ignatius. I am picking Sylvania to win the championship. Sylvania beat both Ed's and U.S this year. Sylvania is playing consistently good hockey, if Sylvania is going to win a state title this is the team to do it.
State Finals are scheduled for Sunday March 11 at the early hour of 11 am.
*In the life sucking void of Nation Wide area. The 20,000 seat NHL venue that sees, a total of 6,000 for all three games. OHSAA you really need to match the venue to the event. Yes, Nation Wide is nice, but its to damn big. Covelli, Hunting, Goggin, Kent State, and Bowling Green all come to mind as being far better suited to the event, and would be wise to just rotate the venue.