As Ohio high school hockey prepares for another three-day weekend of tournaments, there is a single mid-week game on the Great Lakes Hockey League schedule, but it is a big one. The Lake Catholic Cougars host the St. Edward Eagles at Mentor Civic Arena on Wednesday evening and, with a win, the Eagles can move into a tie with Walsh Jesuit for first place in the league standings.
The Eagles defeated Walsh, 2-0, at Winterhurst on Friday night with senior goaltender Andrew Stewart posting the shutout, then picked up a crucial point on Saturday, playing University School to a scoreless tie through 45 minutes of regulation. University School’s Tyler Alt scored the game-winner 1:08 into sudden death.
The two teams met in a re-match less than 24 hours later at Lakewood’s Winterhurst Arena, and US won again, 2-1 in regulation, behind another strong performance by senior goaltender Kyle Flatow, who stopped 55 of 56 shots over the two games.
The Great Lakes Hockey League awards a point in the league standings for an overtime loss, however, so Saturday’s OTL got St. Edward within two points of Walsh—although Holy Name still sits in between them in second place.
Just five points separate the top five teams in the league standings and the stretch drive is shaping up to be a good race. The team that wins the GLHL’s regular season title will get a first-round bye in the Cleveland Cup Tournament and go directly into the semifinals.
St. Edward will make their second trip of the season to Ontario this weekend to play in a tournament in St. Andrews, ON, but tonight they will face a Lake Catholic team that scored 12 goals in a pair of non-league wins over Team Audi and Benedictine last week, but continues to search for their first win in league play.
No GLHL player has scored more than Lake Catholic's Cole Horvath (23)
GILMOUR ACADEMY > Junior goaltender Duncan Nichols-Delay kicked out all 15 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season as Gilmour Academy defeated Bethel Park (PA), 4-0, in the second game of the Brother James Memorial Tournament. The Lancers finished as the runner up at the event following a 2-0 loss in a re-match with Bethel Park (PA) in Sunday’s championship game...Senior forward Matt Mangel has collected seven points (3-4-7) over the last five games. He is the second-leading scorer on the team behind classmate John Treppo, who leads the team in goals (11) and points (19).
HOLY NAME > The Green Wave picked up league wins over Padua Franciscan (3-0) and Lake Catholic (6-2) last week. Senior goaltender Anna Cvitkovich shut out the “Team from Up the Hill” on Friday and junior Ross Conforto turned aside 22 of 24 shots on Saturday night in the win over the Cougars. The four points kept Holy Name, which has won five of the last six games, in second place in the league standings...Junior forward Sebastiano Layne has points in six straight games, producing eight points (6-2-8) in that span.
LAKE CATHOLIC > Transfer Jack Rowell was kept off the scoresheet in his first two games with Lake Catholic, but has found his comfort zone in the lineup and scored in each of the Cougars’ last three games. Lake Catholic jumped out to a 2-0 lead Saturday night at Ries Rink, with Rowell breaking the ice, but it was all Green Wave after that. Holy Name came back for a 6-2 win...Cole Horvath has scored 23 goals in the first 22 games of the season. He has scored two goals in a game seven times, but has yet to register a hat trick this season...Sophomore Sean Jones has 14 points (5-9-14) in 14 games.
PADUA FRANCISCAN > The Padua Franciscan Bruins continue to struggle putting the puck in the net. Junior forward Justin Eles has scored 10 goals, and freshman Brandon Brown has scored five, but they are the only two Bruins who have lit the lamp more than twice this season...Padua is one of three GLHL teams playing in the Cleveland Jesuit Classic at KSU Ice Arena this weekend.
ST. EDWARD > During the pre-season, Eagles head coach Troy Gray expressed concern about how long it would take his young roster to gel. It did not end up taking that long. Freshman Tyler Fowles was the GLHL Player of the Week last week and classmate Tanyon Bajzer leads the Eagles in assists (20) and points (28). The calming effect of senior goaltender Andrew Stewart has been very helpful to the team coming together as well. Stewart ranks among the league in wins (12, 1st), goals-against average (1.44, 3rd), minutes played (594, 2nd), and save percentage (.930, 4th).
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL > Senior goaltender Kyle Flatow, making just his fourth appearance of the season between the pipes for University School, made 24 stops in an impressive 1-0 overtime win over St. Edward. Flatow has allowed just five goals on 97 shots this season...junior forward Tyler Alt’s overtime goal gave the Preppers the win...five of the last seven US games have been decided by a single goal, including a tie and a pair of games that went to overtime...The Preppers head to Toledo this weekend for a tournament at St. John’s Mark Rasmus Memorial Invitational.
WALSH JESUIT > Four of the top five scorers in league play are Walsh Jesuit Warriors. Walsh has played nine of their 12 league games already, more than any other team in the league, but they are also scoring at the highest per-game clip in the league with 3.67 goals per game...Walsh hosts the Cleveland Jesuit Classic this weekend. The eight-team event includes league rivals Holy Name and Padua, GCHSHL powers Rocky River and Shaker Heights, along with Olentangy Liberty, Findlay and Culver Military Academy (IN).
University School senior goaltender Kyle Flatow came up with a pair of impressive performances to backstop the Preppers to two big league wins, taking both ends of a home-and-home set from St. Edward Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday, Flatow and Andrew Stewart of St. Edward battled each other to a scoreless tie through regulation before Tyler Alt’s game winner in sudden-death. Flatow stopped all 24 shots St. Edward directed his way, posting his first shutout of the season.
Flatow allowed just one of 32 shots to elude him in the re-match Sunday afternoon at Winterhurst. That was enough in Preppers a 2-1 win.
“Kyle is playing so well right now because he control his rebounds,” said University School head coach Andre Lacroix. “He freezes the puck when he sees that we are in trouble, he plays his angle very well and he wants to make the best of his senior year.”
For the season, he has a 3-1-0 record with a 1.28 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage.
PREVIOUS WINNERS: Andrew Tomer, St. Edward (Dec. 8); Andrew Stewart, St. Edward (Dec. 16); Cole Horvath, Lake Catholic (Dec. 20); Jonathan Gabriel, Walsh Jesuit (Dec. 29); Tyler Fowles, St. Edward (Jan. 5)
No Lake Catholic Cougar has produced more offense during the Great Lakes Hockey League Era than Alex Piazza’15. Piazza played three years of varsity hockey for Lake Catholic and was a pivotal member of the Cougars’ 2013-14 team that went to state semifinals. He went on to play a year of club hockey at Bowling Green (ACHA Division II), but suffered a career-ending concussion early on in his time there during his freshman year. He is now attending Ohio University.
Current Lake Catholic head coach Justin Vance was the JV coach during Piazza’s freshman year.
“I got to help coach him for four years and watched him develop into one of the biggest scoring threats in high school hockey his last two years,” said Vance. “He has a wonderful shot and knew how to get the puck into high-quality scoring areas.”
Piazza scored 20 goals in 20 career GLHL league games, tying him for fifth on the all-time list despite playing just two seasons in the league. He was named a Second Team All-Star in 2013-14 and made the First Team in 2014-15.
“He has stayed real close with the program and helps out when he is around,” said Vance. “He has been one of the key players to come through this program over the past 10-15 years and helped put Lake Catholic Hockey on the map. He was a joy to coach and talk hockey with.”