With the final major three-day weekend of in-season tournament play behind us, the Great Lakes Hockey League season turns to the stretch drive with three weeks of regular season action remaining. The race for the regular season title in the GLHL is, once again, shaping up to be a beauty with three teams are separated by just one point at the top of the standings heading into this week’s games.
The Green Wave of Holy Name has an opportunity to move into first place with a win against the Lake Catholic Cougars Wednesday night at Mentor Civic Arena. Holy Name enters play this week just one point behind St. Edward and Walsh Jesuit, who are tied for first place with 12 points apiece.
The Namers also play at home Saturday night against Padua Franciscan, giving them four possible standings points this week. St. Edward plays just one league game—at Padua on Friday—while Walsh hosts University School at Kent State Ice Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The fourth- and fifth-place teams in the league, University School and Gilmour Academy, will face off Friday night at Gilmour. The winner of that game will still be in the hunt for the top spot in the standings while the loser will have their work cut out for them. If the post-season were here today, the Preppers and Lancers would be matched up against each other in the Cleveland Cup quarterfinals, so maybe that game is a playoff preview.
Both teams won tournament titles last weekend. US won the Mark Rasmus Memorial Invitational and Gilmour Academy won the Gary West Senior Boys tournament in St. Andrew’s, Ontario.
University School has only played five league games—three fewer than the teams ahead of them in the standings—and are the only GLHL team yet to lose in regulation—so their current fourth-place standings could be deceiving.
GILMOUR ACADEMY > Gilmour Academy had an excellent primer for the stretch drive and the post-season tournaments at the Gary West Tournament in St. Andrews, Ontario, playing in four tight games. They opened up with ties against host St. Andrews (1-1) and Pennsylvania’s Kiski School (2-2), then won a 1-0 game against Lower Canada College (ON). An empty-net goal sealed a 4-2 semifinal win over Upper Canada College so, essentially, that was a fourth-straight one-goal game. GA claimed the title with a 4-1 win over Everest Academy (ON)...Junior forward Domenic Casamatta scored the lone goal in the 1-0 win over LCC, then scored two goals—the ice-breaker and the ENG—to seal the win against UCC. He also added a goal in the championship game. Gilmour could use a little more goal-scoring, so Cassamatta’s contributions are certainly welcome.
HOLY NAME > Holy Name scored 12 goals over their three previous games heading into the Walsh Jesuit Classic, but the goals dried up as the Namers suffered three-straight one-goal losses in the tournament to Findlay (1-0), Olentangy Liberty (2-1) and Shaker Heights (3-2). It was the second meeting of the year with Liberty, ranked #7 in the latest Ohio High School Hockey Poll. Holy Name also played them to a 4-4 tie at the Padua Holiday Hockey Tournament.
LAKE CATHOLIC > Lake Catholic had a week off following their home game against St. Edward last Wednesday. The Cougars took advantage of a rare weekend off to…”We decided to take the weekend off and give our players both a physical and mental break,” said head coach Justin Vance. “With our numbers this year and a grueling league-filled schedule the rest of January it was important to give our guys time to rest and regroup before the stretch run.” The Cougars don’t have any more scheduled off days.
PADUA FRANCISCAN > The Padua Bruins play two league games this weekend, hosting St. Edward at OBM Arena in Strongsville on Friday night, then going into Ries Rink in Parma Heights to face the rival Holy Name Green Wave Saturday. Senior goalie R. J. Schuette ranks third in the GLHL with 148 saves in league play this season.
ST. EDWARD > St. Edward split a pair of games in Toronto against Blyth Academy over the weekend. Following a 5-4 loss on Friday, senior netminder Andrew Stewart stopped 29 of 31 shots, and sophomore forward Joe Wilber scored twice, in a 5-2 win on Saturday. Freshman forward Tanyon Bajzer picked up three points in each game and now leads the league in assists (25) and points (37)...The Eagles have allowed just seven goals in eight league games.
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL > Wins over Moeller (6-1) and Providence, IL (4-3) in the first two games of the Mark Rasmus Invitational Tournament put the University School Preppers into Sunday’s championship game against the host Toledo St. John’s Titans at the Tam O’Shanter. The Preppers beat the Titans, 5-1, for the tournament title and their fifth straight win.
WALSH JESUIT > Senior forward Matt Morris scored with 1:24 left in the third period to give Walsh Jesuit a 2-1 win over Olentangy Liberty in their opening game at the Cleveland Jesuit Classic. Jakhari Desphy lost his shutout as Liberty tied it up with just 3:40 left, but Morris gave the Warriors the win. “It was a great hockey game against a real tough, well-coached opponent,” said Walsh head coach Pat McKendry. “Our leaders led the way. Our seniors are a really special class.”...Drew Rossiter scored the lone Walsh goal in a 1-1 tie with Shaker Heights in Game Two, but the Warriors fell to Rocky River, 2-1, in the championship game.
University School junior defenseman George Brinn is the Great Lakes Hockey League Player of the Week for the week ending January 14.
Brinn has been very involved in the University School offense this season. He is third in the league among all players with 20 assists and enters the week on a seven-game point streak during which he has produced 15 points.
He collected three assists in a game three times in that seven-game span.
Brinn contributed six points (3-3-6) in 10 GLHL games last season as a sophomore, and his role has expanded this season.
“George Brinn is the Bobby Orr of our league,” said US head coach Andre Lacroix. “He skates very well, Plays defense very well. He knows where everybody is on the ice. He makes excellent decision on the ice and is a great team player.”
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); Kyle Flatow, University School (Jan. 10)
Gilmour Academy’s Daniel Menges became the latest Great Lakes Hockey League player to secure a spot playing hockey at a higher level.
The 6’4”, 187-pound forward recently signed a tender with the Coulee Region Chill of the Tier II Junior A North American Hockey League (NAHL).
Menges, a native of Novelty, Ohio, is currently playing a post-grad season with Gilmour’s prep team. Before that, he played two seasons in the GLHL with John Malloy’s Varsity A team.
“Daniel is a great example of a hard-working, dedicated player moving through our program,” said Malloy. “From Varsity B to Varsity A to our Prep team.”
“This year he decided to stay in school and do a post-grad year at Gilmour,” Malloy added. “He captains the team and is one of the top scorers.
Menges leads the Lancers in assists (11) and points (17). He is currently on a 10-game point streak in which he has produced 14 points (4-10-14).
Menges played in the GLHL as a freshman and sophomore (2013-2015) before moving up to the prep squad.
Over 1,200 players have signed NCAA commitments out of the NAHL over the last seasons and 17 were drafted by NHL teams.
Walsh Jesuit product Dawson DiPietro also played for Coulee Region during his two seasons in the NAHL.