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Monday, March 25, 2013

Sylvania 18u heading to Tier II 3a Nationals

This is the third straight year that Northwest Ohio is sending a pre-post team to Nationals.  Two years ago it was Team Toledo's 18U played in the epic 5 overtime semi final game with team Cleveland to advance and then loose 6 hours later to Hadfield in the championship. The names: Frey, Torchia, Opblinger, Roudebusch, Martin, Culver, Gryca, and Carter all still active in Jr hockey.  Then it was Mike Mankowskis 18u Sylvania team last year that lost in overtime to Dallas, in another overtime thriller.  Another team with familiar names, Gay, Carter, and Felser.  This year is no different.  Head coach Mike Mankowski coaches well disciplined teams and is a masterful tactician.  Assembling a crew of the best Northwest Ohio has to offer.  He went out and pounded the other Ohio teams, 8-4, 12-1,10-2
The Sylvania team is patient and aggressive, attacking from all 3 zones.  Mike Mankowski, is the head coach, as well as the ADM coordinator, youth hockey director and travel hockey for Sylvania.  He is restructuring the entire organization and anyone who knows an ounce of hockey can see this organization is first class.  Sylvania's first game is against host Wonderland Wizards of CT at 9 am on April 3rd.   Sylvania then plays the Flint Mi Phantoms at 430pm on April 4th.  Then on the 5th in what what statistically will be their toughest game, they play the Hadfield Ice dogs.  the 2011 nation champions.

Another positive is that the Team Ohio group after  losing 8-4 to Sylvania, was awarded a vacant slot at nationals.  Every year teams from around the Nation just opt to not attend, and for the 3 rd year in a row a Cleveland's state runner up team has been awarded one of these empty slots.  This goes to show the value USA hockey is seeing in the Ohio hockey product.  Don't for a moment think either that because they lost 8-4 to Sylvania that this team Ohio group is some how second rate.  This team holds most of the best Cleveland area players, including several current State Champions!  The¥ will be highly competitive on the national stage.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Past Player Updates

The High School season has come to close.  The champagne is flowing at Shaker Heights and it was well earned.  I hope the celebration runs all week or more. It is really just damn bad, that the backward, antiquated OHSSA has not joined USA HOCKEY.  Allowing the States champions the opportunity to enter post season play for NATIONALS.  Not to mention the issues we contend with having TWO governing bodies for Ohio HS players.  Yawn...I'm so tired of saying this over and over again, but remember OHSSA is not the say so organization, they are paid by tax payer dollars.  Citizens can ORDER them to join USA hockey, and Leave Nationwide, OHssa doesnt have say.

Ohio is Fortunate right now and has numerous former HS players performing well in the JR ranks, working toward one of the few NCAA D1 (1450) and D3 (2000)

1. Connor Frey D Amarillo Bulls.  41 games played 15 pts 5G 10 A +17 49PIM
Connor Frey has had an outstanding rookie year with the Bull's.  The Bulls 40W 7L 7T again lead the NAHL south and the whole NAHL and have secured their #1 play off spot.  Frey has been key contributor and the while Dennis Williams has cut off Freys amazing offensive abilities, it has given Frey the ability to further develop and expand his pure defensive prowess.  Frey is one the most exciting players to come out of Ohio in a long time. 

2. Nolan Culver Bay State Breakers.  Culver just played some of his best Jr hockey and helped Bay State nearly defeat the New Jersy Hitmen in the EJHL semi-finals.  Culver, who was out for 5 of Bays 8 play off appearance with a shoulder injury.  Put up 4 points against the New Jersey Hitmen.  It was here in game two vs the Hitmen where Culver first returned to the ice.  Culver had 2 assists and the game winning goal in the 4-3 win.  The following mini game ( a tie breaker, 1 20 min period) Culver netted another goal.  A goal which stood in to over time when the Hitmen eventually won.  As it stands Culver had 7 pts in his last 4 games with the Breakers.

3. Dalton Carter Norther Cyclones.  Carter is having an amazing season and play off run with the Cyclones.  The Cyclones 30-9-3 on the season have seen Carter since his arrival be solid and consistent on the blue line.  with 34 regular season game, 6 goals 9 assists and 56 PIM Cater has established himself as a leading and desired blue liner.  Ohio fans will remember that Carter has always been a utility player.  Having good vision, hands and bomb of a shot as a FWD with State Champion Northview.  He has aptly applied his offensive abilities to those of defensive.  Now heading in to the AJHL championship game vs Wilks-bare, Carter has 2 G, and 4 A for 6 pts in 4 games and 4 PIM. 

4.  Austin Gryca  please refer to this detailed write up on Ohio's top goalie prospect

5. Layne Martin- Dells Duck 21 games 10 goals 13 assits for 23 points.     He has been a key contributor the Ducks success  this year. The Ducks are deep in the play offs now and tomorrow the finals begin, where Martin and Ducks face off against Twin City Norther Lights.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Congratulations Shaker's RED RAIDERS! 2012-2013 Champions

Where to begin?
The UGLY.  NATION WIDE ARENA AND OHSSA.  You are the worst groups to host this event possible.  Again the arena is LIFE SUCKING VOID, it is a god aweful venue for this event.  Its to god damn big, and in the wrong part of the state.  Then you add in the bullshit NAZI staff that kill the minimal sized student sections ( they fill 1/18th of the venue combined) forced to sit in one bad section, so the cameras can give the APPEARANCE of a large arena filling crowd.  STOP, STOP ruining this experience for the ATHLETES that have earned it.  Move the games to PROPERLY SIZED Venues,  Miami Ohio, Bowling Green, Hobart, The Garden, Covelli Center, Kent State, even Bird Arena.  These games deserve the best, the players and fans deserve the best.  Bigger, NHL is not the best as it IL suited to scope of the event.  Those teams who qualify next  year, if a proper venue is not reserved, need to reach a gentleman's agreement and play the games elsewhere, even if that means the state wont recognize the outcome.  This has to end.

Congratulations to the Red Raiders!  You did it.  You came out played  great game and it paid off.  Patience.  That is what won the day.  Taking what the Wild Cats would give you, and capitalizing on mistakes.  The Red Raiders were cool, calm and collected.  Even when LaPlant came in and fired his answering goal, for the well placed on the ice shot that Greenberg slid past Marsh at 3:02.  The Raiders remained calm.  Then big gun d man for Northview DeWitt was caught with his partner in a change making an aggressive and well timed play for the puck.  But unsuccessful as Siwik and Longman came in on Marsh.  A Northview back checker on his belly trying to make a play, leaves Longman alone, as he undressed Marsh like a date on Prom night.  A move left, a move right and he left him in the middle of the night.  This point forward the game just tilts toward the Raiders.  The Wildcats try various changes and look for answers but find none.  In state finals every team needs things to go just perfectly to reach the game.  Then you need to not be your best, as you cant.  Your hurting, your bruised, your nervous, your excited.  You just need to be better than the other guy, in this moment.  Then in each moment of the game, each shift.   That is what wins titles.  That is what has always won titles, and that is what won this title!  Congratulations Raiders! Trevor Carl, Johnathan GreenBerg, Nick Hartman, John Longman, Jacob Shick, Connor Siwik, and Joey Yoder.  You, Sr's have brought your School a great title and have an amazing for the rest of your lives.  Live large and relish the moment.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ohio HS hockey Championship

In a matter of hours the puck will drop on the Ohio High School Hockey Championship.  The grossly oversized building will have just played host to some 12000 fan for the Blue Jackets vs Red Wings game.  The near empty facility will house a thousand or so for this epic tilt between the defending Champions  Sylvania Northview and Shaker Heights.
Nerves played nearly destructive  rolls in both of yesterdays games.  WIth both teams having those nerves cleared out, the new ones settle in.  Expect a fast, and skillful final, fans.  Fast and skillful

Friday, March 8, 2013

Ever wake up with a feeling?

I did.  Its been haunting me since 5 am.  Is this Rocky Rivers Title?  It could be be their first.  They just may surprise.  Lets see what happens.  I still it as a Shaker vs. Northview final, but I am haunted by Pirates.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Pirates

The Pirates are intending to set sail for States on Friday, arriving intime for the game.  Stating that if there is enough student interest they will have a spirit bus. 

Really, all you have is maybe 50 fans?  Should that be the case, just stay home, as inside the life sucking void of National Wide Arena the 18,000 seat venue, an anorexic 50 fans, wouldn't fill a row.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Capital Buzz, the Semi final match ups and odds.

Game one on Friday will feature Shaker Heights Red Raiders squaring off against Rocky River Pirates at 1300hrs March 8th at Nation Wide Arena.  I like Shaker in this game.  I have liked the Red Raiders and the Pirates for the last few years.  I have enjoyed watching them reemerge as real contenders in the Cleveland scene.   I have been more impressed with the Shaker product, early and longer.  This team has gone a long way in rediscovering an age old winning tradition, that has been sorely abscent.  Yes, it show up in 2005 but that is long before these kids took the ice.  This year the Raiders are lead by 8 Sr's.  2 Shick, 11 Longman and 13 Siwik are the fire power.  Totaling some 44pts over the regular seasons league play.  Eric Sterin is the best goalie remaining in the Ohio HS play offs.  His mechanics, angles, rebound control and save selections have him solidly in the above average category.   #1 Nicholson of Rocky River is no slouch and is a key component of the Pirates success.  He is also in the above average category, and will need to continue playing his best behind a defense that is ever so slightly better than Shakers.  The Pirates D are more disciplined than Shakers in a man to man comparison and edge them out again in mobility.  This will be key considering back on the fact that they will be facing the up front fire power of Shaker who have 3 above average and 2 average developing to above threats.  Where as Shaker is only contending with one above average scoring threat and 2average.   Shaker and Rocky River met once this whole season.  That game went to Shaker in a 2-1 tilt.  This game boils down Shaker needing to keep offensive pressure, and shooting the puck.  Shaker should win this match up.  prediction Shaker 4 Rocky River 2

Game two on Friday features the defending state champions Sylvania Northview Cats and Olentangy Liberty.  I have been pointing out that Liberty is the PC everyone's a winner token team from the south.  They are.  They  point out on their web site that since joining the Ohio HS ranks they are 70-13-2. ( this must be only Capital league play not overall.) They enter the semi final this year having beaten three  Red division teams from outside the Capital Conference. Those teams being a very, very down Lake Catholic 2-1 and a simply horrible St. Francis 5-3 and the worst ever offering from Padua.  Then Loosing 5-3, 7-3  to Findlay, 3-2 to St. Ignatius, St. Johns 3-1, Ties with Eds twice, and Ignatius.  Averaging 2.2 goals for and surrendering 3.3 a game.  The Cats have 64 goals against for the season, surrendering 1.9 goals per-game and scoring 175 goals or 5.3 goals per-game.
Plan on the large, well disciplined coaching staff at Northview playing a respectful game, just as they did last year vs Orange.  Its not that the Capital doesn't have nice players.  Just not enough on any one team, playing at a consistently high level for development.  Predicted final 5-1 Northview.

Shaker vs Northview final goes to Northview in overtime 2-1
the odds, I forgot the odds.  Sorry about that
Id guess
Sylvania is a 3-1 favorite to repeat at this point
Shaker is 4-1 to win
Rocky River is 5-1
and Liberty is out long shot at 10-1

The gaulent has been laid down,

Opening up this morning, I have just learned that Sylvania Northview has canceled school for Friday's semifinal games.   The superintendent, athletic director and principal are to be commended for this move.  These semifinal games are one of those life moments that young people remember for a life time.  In addition the school is again to be commended for making bus's available to the student body for safe transport to and from the games!   So there you have it Shaker, Liberty, and Rocky.  The gauntlet has been laid down, Sylvania Northview is bringing the home ice advantage...can you step up and answer?  Liberty....are you just going to make the token  walk down the beach and back home?

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The offering OHSSA has gone public

In a wild weekend of trading the OHSSA HOCKEY semi final round has gone PUBLIC.  Fan's, in looking over the data, this is an historic event.  Not since the 1980's, and I mean early 80's pre 1984 have we not had a private in the finals.  It was only in the 1970's that title was established.  Shaker was playing on frozen ponds. We are talking Jimmy Carter was in the White House.  The Year was 1978.  It was in fact  the first year of the OHSSA High School Championship.  The line up was Bowling Green, Findlay, Shaker Heights and Bay Village.  That champion was Findlay, it was also Bay Villages only state final ever.  Findlay was the first school to repeat as well.  I fully anticipate this event should be one of the best we have had.  Yes it is on Friday March 8th.  A school day but here is the deal folks.  We have had hardly any snow days, we pay a shit ton in taxes to operate these schools.  They are our schools.  Call your Superintendents, have them use our Bus's to get our student down to the games.  Other wise the life sucking void, known as Nation WIDE arena.  The venue that holds 18,000 fans for Ice Hockey will have but 300 parents, grandparents and toddlers.  In all the finals held at the arena, the lower bowl has yet to even be filled...the lower bowl is equal to all the seating in the Hunting Center.  This is exactly why the venue is ALL WRONG.  The venue needs to be moved back to BGSU, Brooklyn Rec, Miami University. Venues that are properly proportioned.  So if you want this event to rock, the Public Schools need to step up, parents need to step up, student need to rise up and get their buts to the game.

Fans your 2011-2012 Frozen four teams:

The 4pm game on Friday will have the Sylvania Northview Wild Cat's playing against the Olentangy Liberty Pioneers.  This is the Cat's first ever defense of the state championship title.  The Cats currently have 159 goals for and 65 against and are the number one team.  Their 3-2 come back win last evening over former #1 Toledo St. Johns was a display grit and determination.  The winning culture at Sylvania Northview and the year round dedication those players have to school and the sport is what won them the day and this title defense.  They look in every way to have come together as a team.  A team that will successfully defend their title.
The Pirates joined the dance with a masterful victory over the wave riders at Holy Name!  Out of any team in this frozen four the Pirates have had the most difficult voyage.   Playing Lake Wood, Padua, Ignatius and Holy Name.  They now again, have to have their ship squared away to do battle with the Red Raiders in the 1pm game.  The Raiders are a team I started liking three seasons ago.  Seeing what was likely to filter in to their program, the experience and cool, calm approach of Bartly I felt Shaker was ripe to start some runs.  Just as I feel Bowing Green is again in play in the next couple seasons. I firmly believe that this all Public Final can thank in large part the hard economic times,  that are being thrust upon us an out of control elected class.  But we are talking the politics of hockey here, not how both political parties have robbed the American people of earned wealth and the opportunity to earn wealth.  Shakers ride to the frozen four has not been easy at all, so dont let my respect for the Pirates fool you.  Beating Mentor, Walsh and U.S. is no simply task.  Especially in a year where there was so much parity in Cleveland.  Yet this is how it works.  Ever so slowly, steadily the tides turn.  Unnoticeable to all but the most scrutinizing. We are seeing not the shift in the tides, but the effect of the tides having turned.  Lastly we have Liberty.  The token team from Columbus.  Another product of the PC everyone's a winner mentality that is hurting the sport.  The State needs to adopt a system that ensures the best 4 teams in the state are in the frozen four, not the geographically correct four.  Its sport for crip sake.  Its about earning your place at the table.  To do that we have to eliminate this guy
from just waltzing in to the finals every year.  Seats at this table are supposed to be earned.  As they are at any other meaningful table.
more to come.....