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Monday, September 30, 2013

Big weekend for former Ohio players

I watched proudly as former Ohio HS players continued to carve stake their claim in the JR hockey world.  There was so much that took place I am having some difficulty figuring out the best course in relaying everything.

Lets start where the sun rises in the east, with Dalton Carter.  Dalton Carter, Sylvania Northview's
  former center.  Dalton converted back to his roots on the blue line early last season, after being moved by the NAHL Kalamazoo K wings,  and had a spectacular season.  Following that up, not missing a beat, bigger, stronger, and faster, Dalton is named team captain for the Cyclones of the Easter Hockey League.  Then just two min into the season opener he fired a bomb to tally the teams first goal of the season.  Now in just two regular season games carter has 1g 2 a for 3 pts.  Dalton is highly rated NCAA division 3 prospect and NCAA division 1, in this his final season of Jr hockey.

Zander Pryor of the USPHL Elite Bay State Breakers has had a solid beginning to his Jr career.  The Breakers sit in the leagues 2nd place with 5 wins and 1 loss.  Pryor another Sylvania Northview product produced his first helper in his second game.  Followed that with another in his third and popped his cherry against the Portland Pirates on 9-28.  He now has 3 solid point, and including this season has a three full jr seasons at his disposal.  He is out of the gate, and on his way.

We maintain our east coast trek, visiting the city of brotherly love, or as a food lover, the land of steak and cheese.  Where that battle is between Pats pictured here on the right and Ginos
Pictured here on the left.
You will have to decied if your a Pats or Ginos fan.

What else is happening in Philly?  Just a little hockey, and look no farther than the Philadelphia Little Flyers.  Where you can find two Ohio players that have played together and against each other. They have played against each other in one of the hottest rivalries in Ohio, ( Toledo St. Johns and Sylvania Northview) are again playing together.  Zach Felser and Austin Kelly.   The pair in the Little Flyers first two games have amassed a combined 13 points.  Felser #15  has 2 goals 5 assits for 7 points.  Pictured here scoring his first goal, a nice back hand.
   Kelly #14 has 4 goals, 1 assit for 5 points.  3 of his goals are a hat trick series from his second game.  Kelly is pictured here just in front of the goal,  scoring his first, a redirect.

Right hand raised doing a fist pump.

as we move west we stop in Canada and the GMGHL where Alex Wooley is in a back up goalie role with the Orangeville Americans.  Moving south to Ohio and the MNJHL Great lakes division.  The Wooster Oilers are 7-3 to start the year.  Josh Eubank has appeared in all ten games and is putting up good number 6 goals and 5 assist.  It would have been nice to have seen Josh catch on in a more competitive league and push himself and get more exposure, I am guessing he is comfortable, and comfort leads to static development.  Good news is the 6'4" 200lb 1994 has another year of eligibility, and count on us working to make sure he gets pushed!  

Further West and in the NA3HL Toledo Cherokee reside in second place.  We find big goalie Nate Gay.  At 6'4" and 210lbs Nate is big by any measure.  Maintaining a .897 Save % and 2.41 GAA.  I believe Nate can push himself and get that Save % up around .91 and the GAA down to 1.9.  The big news for the Cherokee is Tyler Zalecki, who is leading the team in scoring.  6 games, 5 goals 1 helper.  he is way ahead of his lastyears final stats of 47 games played 24 goals and 28 assist.

As we move North again to Canada.  We see several former Ohio kids playing in Leamington.
Leamington is in second place of the Western Conference in the GOJHL.  6 wins, one loss.  Lets start in net with Austyn Roudebusch  Started 3 games, 2 wins and 1 loss.  2.02 GAA and .93 save % put Roudi in elite category.  Out in front of him we find Graham Kelsey a former Sylvania Northview player.  The solid defenseman has 2 assist and is a rock on the blue line.  Moving up to the attack we find Nathan Opblinger with 1 goal and 7 helpers on the season.

In the NAHL we find  Nolan Culver #29 with the Minnesota Wilderness.  Culver reported to the Wilderness on Wednesday the 25th, just in time for the expansion clubs inaugural home opener against the Fairbanks Ice dogs.  Culver played an active role in helping the Wilderness over come injury adversary and handing the Ice Dogs their first defeat of the season.  #2 Connor Frey of the Amarillo Bulls has battled his way to being a regular on the blue line this season, infact he logged some of the most min of any bulls d men at the Blaine showcase, where a record 346 scouts from every level of hockey resisted to watch the players. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


"There's a new sheriff in town."  He's no stranger to these parts, the rare bird he is.
He wears his star proud, carry's his gun rig low on the hip and shoots straight enough to the knock the nuts off a gnat at 20 paces.  His star is the new Logo 
Gone are the Maple Leafs, as under his guidance have found themselves earning positions in each of his seasons here but the first at USA Hockey's National Championships.  This year is proving no different for his 18U team, a group that now enjoys the highest caliber of on and off ice training.  
In addition to the 18U team Sylvania continues to put teams on the ice in the most competitive divisions of youth hockey that match abilities.  The program continues to grow, at a steady pace, as do the players who participate.  Look for the 18 and 16 teams to be in the National Picture again, and look for the younger programs to be in the hunt as well.

Interested in learning more about the North Stars brand of hockey?

Sylvania North Stars Facebook home

Sylvania North Stars web site

Monday, September 2, 2013

2013-2014 Thoughts preseason.

2013-2014 Looks to me to be a year that will see new faces and some forgotten find the spotlight.  
In the South look for Olentangy Liberty stand out Cam Perry (97) to assume the throne as the states best goalie. Perry has average size, strength,  average to above average mobility - edge work and above average vision and save selection on a national level.  He plays the butterfly and he does play a bit to deep last I saw him, making robber goals high to the corners suspect. This still places him in the elite Ohio HS category, I like work ethic and approach to the position and he has earned the right to some swagger . Perry is now by my assessment on tracking to be an NCAA d3 starter contender.  Liberty consistently makes some quality noise, I was a bit shocked he was not trying out for the North Stars PrePost, he may not have because he may have just moved on, I will be looking for him come the start of the season.  The following is a You tube of Perry that a quick google found me.

That all said the likely hood Liberty wins state is about that as the USA being debt free.  Doesnt mean they don't have some players, just not enough.

Padua returns 17 this season. The Bruins Sr class is composed of 5Sr forwards and one Sr D.  Szpak should be expected to lead the Bruins.  The defensive core has 5 varsity veterans.  The big question for the Bruins is goaltending.  Will Tuffy be the guy or will he be splitting with a newcomer, or will this X factor just take position?  Padua has potential, but I predict an average season.

Findlay Trojans.  They have sustained heavy losses in key areas.  Gone are 11 players.  Gone is back stoper Alex Wooley.  (*Wooley just made his Jr Hockey debut for the Orangeville Americans of the GMHL Canadian league.  Wooley saw 20 min of action, faced 20 shots and surrendered 5 goals.)  Gone are defensive leaders Patric Hall and Drew Williams.  Gone too is offensive threat Andy Martin and 5 other forwards.  The Trojans are still, returning 16.  Longo and Bern in goal, 4 Sr defenders and 5 Sr forwards.  Expect the Trojans to be the Trojans.  A hard nosed hard working team and physical start to finish.  I believe they will be battling mid pack in NW Ohio this season.

Lake Catholic Graduated 4.  2 D and 2 FWD   They return 15, of that veteran class 10 are Seniors, and have procured at least one impact player in their new class.  It is also Tim Okicki's 3rd at the helm as head Coach, and he has been establishing himself well his area players as a guy to play for.  Lake will play with anyone this year and its how soon they settle in on consistancy that will determine the end result.  This is potentially a big year for lake.

St. Ed's.  Oh the Eagles.  2008 State Champions.  Lost 11 but return Tyler Harkins 
The Eagles lost Gabe Lampron and Connor King to graduation, yet despite the 11 lost, they are returning 10 and have constantly good additions of impact players every year.  I will not be going out on a limb when I say the Eagles will be again solid.  Yet I am calling this a rebuilding year, a solidly competitive year, but dont expect to play in the void down in Columbus.

St. Ignatius Wildcats.  State Champions in 2010...looses 6, 3 impact players and 3 goalies.  McQuinn is making an impact at Ohio University, on their top Nationally competitve and well respected club team.  Also absent this year will be McNulty and Malone.  Defensively the Wildcats are returning Kevin Spellacy, Nick Gajkowski, Logan Sellers, and Harry Smith.  Rumors say they picked up a natural goal scorer, so keep your eyes glued to stat sheets to see this unveiling.  But nothing on goal tending.  That is concerning, its not every year a Freshman like Gryca waltz's in and takes the thrown as he in Sylvania.  The Wildcats have all the intangables of winning culture and work eithic and draw kids in to play.  Not sure I will call them as a State Contenders, but sure as hell wont rule them out.  This will be a darn good team....but how good?

ST. Francis Knights.  State Champions in 2011.  One could be quick to write off the Knights.  Not that amazing last year, at all.  It was a rebuilding or just a down year.  Team has not been the same since winning the State Title.  Loosing 3 yet returning 12, picking up one highly skilled impact player, likley the the best individual in the state this year.  Sophomore Goalie Phipps has some stud factor going for him.  So as quickly and easily as it is write off the Knights, you have to be even more quick to see the pieces are there.  NW Ohio has strong division, it will be a battle and knights are part of that battle.  For the Knights a run all the way down to Columbus is totally dependent on the end of the year, and how they are playing.  Are they Ruled out of playing in that GIGANTIC over sized and disproportional nation wide, are they a shoe, surely not....most likely 3,4 in NW Ohio.

ST. Johns 2007 State Champions.  Titans Mike Hayes returns 18.  13 are Seniors this year and has what I believe to be the strongest team he has ever coached, may be the strongest in Ohio.  He has pro style scoring lead by Jr Ian Rapp.  He has the deepest most well disiplaned defensive core he has ever had.  He has the best goalie in Barrett he has ever had.  This is a Hockey fans, HOCKEY TEAM.  They have it all, and they have depth.  St. Johns is my pick to win States this year, and clearly to win NW Ohio.

Sylvania Northview 2012 State Champions.  Mike Jones is back behind they bench.  The King and his court travel with nearly a 1-1 coach to player raitio, a formula that has worked well since he took to sitting in his throne.  5th season for the Jones era.  Two trips to States, one title, and the 3 trips to the NW district finals.  Northview has a winning culture.  They have all the intangibles.  What they lost are 8 seniors that anchored them last year.  What they have are 9 Seniors this year.  Northview is built for consistency.  Do not expect to see them stack up 8 goals here and 6 there.  Northview will be winning games, but not pretty.  They will loose games as well, the key for Northview is the final stretch.  Should they be at their best in the final weeks expect maybe an upset of Toledo St Johns in a district final.  Defensively anchored by Kooper Carter who put together this great short film, that I just found in my in box
If they are stumbling, they will loose finish 3,4 in the district.  Last year Northview did not have an answer for Shaker Heights in the State Final, with player losses and additions Northview is a bit down across the board.

University School  2009 State Champions.  U S returns 14 veteran players, lead by Krueger a Jr this year.  US is an strong solid team.  Strong Defensively, Strong up front and average in goal.  The out look is up from last year.  The team is more powerful and that will translate to more wins.  Wins that key members hold as part of this clubs culture.  US is a team that will battle all season.  They will fall short of a State run as they lack some key role players.  Strong, Consistent, but incomplete.


Thanks for the video links and news articles.  I am sorting them and looking to see where I can add or use them.  Thanks hockey fans
More to come....
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