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Monday, March 26, 2012

Sylvania Pre-Post Heading to USA Nationals in Lansing

It happens every year.  The USA hockey nationals.  Where the best of the best from every state meet and compete for titles.  As we saw last year some times the best game of the event, between the best teams some times is not that final game.  Last year's Team Cleveland #2 Vs. Team Toledo #1 was a semi final.  An epic game that every hockey nut needs to have in their library.  5 17 min Over time stanzas ( a 5 pluss hour long event) for Team Toledo to come out on top, only to fall 8 hours later in the final against the Hatfield Ice dogs.  Sylvania toppled the number #1 Team Cleveland this year to earn their birth at Nationals. Sylvania begins play against the defending Champions, the Hatfield Ice Dogs.

 Sylvania is coached by none other NW Ohio great Mike Mankowski.  While head coach at Toledo St. Johns, Mike established the Titans as one of the most respected teams in the state with several trips to the Championship.  Mike matriculated to the NCAA Div1 game coaching first with Canisius College where he was an assistant coach, and then to BGSU where he served as interim coach in that programs darkest hours helping to save the program.  Mike is now the Hockey Director at Sylvania, and has taken the volunteer based youth programs and applied the USA Hockey ADM and is operating what is likely one of the best if not the best programs in the state.  Mike is assisted by none other Bob Felser one of the states top power skating and puck handling instructors. 

The Sylvania team is made up names you know, and names you need to know.  Mike established a group of high caliber players from the area schools.  They also have good chemistry and have had the ability to put school rivalry issues aside as they came together as a team.
#2 Spencer Calcamuggio
#3 Ryann Rapp
#4 Kyler Omey
#5 Jimmy Scott
#6 Josh Cline
#8 Matt Opblinger
#9 Reid Kersey
#10 Zach Felser
#11 Josh Eubank
#12 Andy Martin
#13 Brady Storer
#14 Dominck Horvath
#15 Sheldon Meyers
#17 Dalton Carter
#18 Reid Mankowski
#19 Matt Young
#20 Brent Easton
#21 Kyle Kuhr
#30 Nate Gay
#31 Alex Wooley

Some quick highlight players from this roster.  One of the best goalies in the state, I personally rank him as #2 and honestly it for me it comes down personal preference #30 Nate Gay from BGHS.  Nate is a big 6'4" wet sponge.  Pucks just stick to him, and in this modern age where over 70% of all goals scored are second and third efforts,  you can see why the net belongs to Nate Gay.  #31 Alex Woolley is no slouch, another good sized goalie at 6'1" out of Findlay.  Defensively at the core here, there are 3 blueliner from the State Championship Northview Wildcats.  #'s 4, 13 and 20  Kyler Omey, Brady Storer and Brint Easton. This corps is tough as nails, so we look past the physicality they bring, and say they can all pass, shoot and skate with anyone, and proved it this year.  Then you add to this mix a pair of  Titan's in  Sophmore #14 Dominick Horvath  and Jr. #3 Ryann Rapp.  Key elements of Mike Hayes District final runners up squad, young, head and strong with loads of experience.  In 2010-2011 Team Toledo went 31-5-0(225 goals for, 73 against) they played a full schedule, Team Cleveland went 17-7-1 (117 Goals For- 49 against).  This year Sylvania enters the tourney ranked 30th, having played 18 games, (54 goals for, and 46 against). Team Cleveland this year played 13 AAA teams from the NAPHL and High performance Hockey League, went 14-7-3 117 goals for and 67 against.  Loosing to Sylvania 4-2.  At a point when most of the offensive weapons were just beginning establish themselves as team leaders.  Sylvania's 30 ranking is not fully justified, due in large  part to a lack of data.  So should we extrapolate a bit and take in to account that the Northview crew on this team played and beat handily this year, the Araphoe warriors, Littleton Hawks, Geneva Cyclons and Wheaton West HS, that members from the titan contingent beat some heady MI High schools.  We begin to see why and how this Sylvania team is under rated entering the contests this week.

The Bracket for Sylvania.  Sylvania opens on March 28 at 6pm on Suburban Rink 1 against defending Champions Hatfield Ice dogs, currently ranked 4th.
Then on the 29th at Summit arena (NHL sheet) 2 pm against the Dallas Penguins ranked 48th
On the 30th Sylvania plays at 10am again on the summit NHL rink against tournament Host Lansing Capitals ranked 140th
Following pool play (Sylvania is in the National Pool with Lansing, South Shore, Chicago Bruins, Hatfield, Littleton, Dallas and Hudson Valley.)   on the 31st we will see the 4 seed National team play 1 seed American at 10 am, 2 seed National vs 3 American, 1 National vs 4 American and 3 National Vs 2 American.  Winners will advance to semi finals where the teams who win N2/A3 vs winner A1/N4 at 6 pm on the 31st and on rink 2 at 6 pm Winners of A2/N3 vs Winner N1/a4
the Championship follows at 12:30 on April 1st.