The Martin Luther King Holiday represents the final major in-season tournament weekend for high school hockey in Ohio and four of the five members of the Great Lakes Hockey League used the occasion to tune of for the stretch drive by playing top-notch competition from all around Ohio and beyond.
University School won the Mark Rasmus Memorial Tournament in Toledo, defeating the hosts from St. John’s Jesuit twice in the process, and while they didn’t claim the hardware at their own MLK Tournament, Walsh Jesuit came up big at OBM Arena.
Gilmour Academy and Shaker Heights left the state while Padua Franciscan convalesced at home.
Details from last week’s action are below but, more importantly, with the MLK Tournaments behind us, three weeks of regular season play remain on the OHSAA hockey calendar. All across the state, teams return to league play to determine seeding for post-season league tournaments.
CLEVELAND CUP – With all five teams qualifying for the Great Lakes Hockey League’s post-season tournament, the Cleveland Cup, the #4 and #5 seeds will meet in a play-in game while the top three finishers move directly to the championship weekend.
All games at OBM Arena in Strongsville
Tue., Feb. 7
6:00 p.m. #4 vs. #5
Fri., Feb. 10
6:00 p.m. #1 vs. Tuesday winner
8:10 p.m. #2 vs. #3
Sat., Feb. 11
8:00 p.m. championship game
Gilmour Academy head coach John Malloy will learn a lot about his team this weekend as the Lancers face two of the top three teams in the state. Gilmour will put their undefeated (2-0-0) league record on the line when they host their SOM Center Road rivals, red-hot University School, at Gilmour Ice Arena Friday evening. GA and US have not met on the ice yet this season, leaving their two league games for later in the schedule (they will play at Cleveland Heights Rec Center on Sunday, January 29)…Gilmour has the most points (12) still on the table in the GLHL standings thanks to the six league games they have remaining over the final three weeks of the season. That gives them the inside track on the league title, but a loss to the Preppers – who have recently knocked off Sylvania Northview and St. Edward – changes the equation overnight…Junior forward Colton Fairchild collected five assists over the last two games the Lancers played at a tournament at St. Andrew’s College in Ontario last weekend – both Lancer wins. Brock Sanders (8 saves) and Miles Greenwald (5) shared the shutout in a 4-0 win over St. Charles (ON) to close out the event…The Lancers will also visit #1 ranked Saint Ignatius (winners of 10 of their last 11 games) for a big test at Brooklyn Rec Center on Saturday at 4:45 p.m.
Padua Franciscan lost their last two league games, but still have the most points (6) in the league standings. The Bruins may now need to win out to have a chance at the points title and the #1 seed for the Cleveland Cup, however. And, if they are to win the regular season title, they will have to do it on the road. Padua takes to the road for a pair of GLHL games this weekend, visiting Shaker Heights at Thornton Park and University School at Cleveland Heights…Liam Conway’s assist in Padua’s 3-0 win over Walsh Jesuit on Friday, January 6 gave him a nine-game points streak during which he accumulated 14 points (7-7-14). He was held off the score sheet in the last two games – and both resulted in Bruin losses.
A trip to Western Pennsylvania to compete in the Meadville MLK Tournament resulted in a 1-2-1 mark for Shaker Heights. The Raiders did well on Saturday, defeating Medina, 2-1, and tying the hosts from Meadville (PA), 3-3. The trio of Gavin Richards, Jack Camp and Noam Greenberg combined for two shorthanded goals in the 3-3 tie with Meadville. Camp and Richards tallied the shorties while Greenberg assisted on both. Camp – last week’s GLHL Player of the Week – also scored an even-strength goal…Cooper Mears stopped 36/37 shots in the win over Medina…The Red Raiders host Walsh Jesuit and Padua Franciscan this weekend as they try to finish in the Top 3 in the league and avoid the play-in game for the Cleveland Cup…The Raiders account for three of the top five PIM totals in the GLHL, including Quintin Garnett’s league leading 67.
University School’s hot streak (13-2-1) continued last weekend as the Preppers won the championship at the Mark Rasmus Memorial Tournament in Toledo, defeating the hosts from St. John’s Jesuit twice, including a 2-0 shutout in the title game. Noah Caballero stopped all 18 shots he faced in the championship tilt and also posted a 7-0 shutout of Dublin Jerome at the event…US was rewarded with a bump up from #5 to #3 in the state rankings, leap-frogging Sylvania Northview and St. Edward – both of which the Preppers have beaten this season…University School has a loss in league play (1-0 to Padua on December 9), but with two league games remaining against Gilmour Academy, the Preppers have their league fate in their hands, beginning with their matchup with the Lancers Friday night at GA.
Walsh Jesuit did not capture the championship at the Walsh MLK Tournament, but it was still a very positive weekend for the Warriors with a 2-2 tie against the #2 team in the state, Olentangy Liberty, and a 5-1 win over Findlay in the third-place game. Findlay was knocked out of the Top 10 as a result. The Warriors, meanwhile, moved up a spot to #13 is this week’s MyHockeyRankings for the OHSAA…Ryan Kersher scored the tying goal against Liberty with :08 left on the clock and Josh Weiner scored four goals in the win over Findlay. Walsh also defeated Anthony Wayne, 4-2…The Warriors go after their first GLHL win of the season with league games against Shaker Heights and University School this weekend. They only sit four points out of third place, which would allow them to skip the play-in game at the Cleveland Cup, but with three of the four league games remaining coming against teams ranked in the Top 6 in the state, the Warriors have their work cut out for them. After this weekend, they still have to play #6 Gilmour Academy twice.
Walsh Jesuit forward Josh Weiner
Josh Weiner scored seven goals and 10 points over three games for Walsh Jesuit at their MLK Tournament, helping the team to an undefeated weekend against some excellent competition.
“Obviously, Weiner’s performance on the scoresheet was quite impressive as he led us to a 2-0-1 record over the weekend,” said Walsh head coach Pete Calleri. “Equally as impressive is his effort in areas that don’t show up on the scoresheet like blocking shots, back checking and playing the body. He leads in every aspect to help his team achieve success and is a complete player.”
Weiner figured in all four goals – scoring three himself and assisting on the fourth – in a 4-2 win over Anthony Wayne to open the tournament.
The senior forward assisted on both Warrior goals in their 2-2 tie with Olentangy Liberty. Liberty is ranked #2 in the state. He then scored four times in a 5-1 win over Findlay in a game that knocked the Trojans out of the OHSAA Top 10.
For the season, Weiner leads the GLHL with 35 points and is tied fror the league lead in goals (17) with Padua’s Shane Helman.
--- Scott Harrington for Ohio Hockey Digest