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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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