With three league games—and a possible six points in the Great Lakes Hockey League standings—on the table for them this week, the Gilmour Academy Lancers have an opportunity to make some headway in a tight race for the GLHL regular season title and the first-round bye in the Cleveland Cup that goes along with it.
Gilmour is having their best season since 2010-11 when they won the Kent District and went to the state tournament in Columbus. The Lancers have already won 17 games overall and enter this crucial week on a six-game win streak that includes their first-ever win over SOM Center Road rival University School. That win kept GA one point ahead of the Preppers in the league standings.
The Lancers, who moved up to #5 from #8 in this week’s Ohio High School Hockey Poll, are in fourth place in the GLHL. They trail points leader Holy Name by four points with two games in hand. They have an opportunity to put those games-in-hand to good use this week while the Namers and third-place Walsh Jesuit play outside the league. They will have to earn it, however. In addition to their mid-week tilt with Padua Franciscan, they play St. Edward at home Saturday and University School away on Sunday—both teams have only one regulation loss this season and know they could give themselves the inside track with a win over Gilmour.
Three GLHL teams will be heading to Michigan for the Grand Rapids Catholic Showcase this weekend: Holy Name, Padua and Walsh Jesuit.
The Green Wave staked their claim to first place with a pair of league wins last week over Lake Catholic (5-4) and Padua (3-2), but their hold on first place is tenuous as St. Edward and Gilmour both have an opportunity to pass them this weekend.
DESPHY SETS ALL-TIME SAVES RECORD—Walsh Jesuit senior goaltender Jakhari Desphy has passed OSU Buckeye Lynsey Wallace as the GLHL’s all-time leader in saves with 858 (league games only). In addition, every time Desphy plays, he adds to his league record for minutes played (1,848).
CVITKOVICH COMMITS TO TRINE—Holy Name senior goaltender Anna Cvitkovich has committed to join the Thunder of Trine University next season. Trine is an NCAA Division III women’s program in Angola, IN (more on page 2).
GILMOUR ACADEMY > The Lancers followed up their big win over US with a 3-1 non-league victory over Shaker Heights on Sunday that extended their winning streak to six games...Gilmour’s goaltending and defense continue to excel. GA allowed one goal or fewer in five of those six wins—allowing two in a 4-2 win over Upper Canada College (ON) on January 13...senior Peyton Wetzel’s shutout of Lake Catholic on Saturday gives him a lower goals-against average for the season (1.38) than junior Duncan Nichols-Delay (1.41). Delay has made two-thirds of the starts for the Lancers, posting four shutouts and a .946 save percentage.
HOLY NAME > Holy Name followed up three one-goal losses at the Cleveland Jesuit Classic the week prior by posting a pair of one-goal wins in league play last week. The Green Wave have won eight of their last 12 games overall (8-4-0) as they prepare for their trip to Michigan this weekend...the Namers close out their league schedule next weekend with US and GA—so they will definitely have to earn it if they manage to hold onto the top spot in the standings...Senior goaltender Anna Cvitkovich will continue her career at Trine University next season. “We are very proud of Anna not only with her commitment to play hockey at Trine, but also her commitment to continue her education at a great university.” said Holy Name head coach Tim Sullivan. “Her hard work and ability to beat the odds is a great testament to what hard work can accomplish.”
LAKE CATHOLIC > Lake Catholic will have their work cut out for them as they look to snap a four-game losing streak. They host University School at Mentor Civic Arena on Wednesday night. The Cougars will then play at US on Saturday. The Preppers are ranked #4 in the state and have won six of their last seven games...Lake Catholic has 14 players on their roster this season and 10 of them are juniors, including their two goaltenders. While the program is battling the numbers game right now, they could be in a good position next year with a senior-laden team. “All of a sudden, games you couldn’t quite get over the hump, you find ways to win,” Cougars head coach Justin Vance told the News-Herald this week.
PADUA FRANCISCAN > Padua led cross-town rivals Holy Name, 2-0, going into the third period on Saturday on a pair of second period goals by junior forward Justin Eles. Eles has scored 40% of Padua’s goals this season (12 of 30)...The Bruins head north to play in the Grand Rapids Catholic Showcase this weekend. They will face Grand Rapids Catholic Central (MI) and Notre Dame Prep (MI) at the event.
ST. EDWARD > The Eagles have not lost a game by more than one goal since December 7. A 5-3 loss to Sylvania Northview at the Padua Holiday Hockey Tournament included an empty-net goal by the Wildcats...Senior forward Frank Crisafi is on a five-game goal streak and leads the Eagles with 18 goals on the season...Junior defenseman Tyler Budzar has collected three assists in each of the last two games...St. Edward switched spots with US in this week’s Ohio High School Hockey Poll, moving up to #3.
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL > University School responded to their loss to Gilmour on Friday with a 2-1 overtime win over Walsh Jesuit on Saturday. GLHL Player of the Week, junior defenseman George Brinn, scored both goals in the game for US and junior goaltender Critter Coughlin stopped 20 of 21 shots. Senior forward Ethan Whetstone collected two assists in the game giving him multiple points in four of his last five.
WALSH JESUIT > Walsh dropped a tough one to University School in overtime in what was the only game on their schedule last week. “It was a great hard-fought game by two top teams,” said Warriors head coach Pat McKendry. “Hats off to both sides, a well-played game from start to finish.”...The Warriors have been playing some low-scoring games as of late. In five of their last seven contests the winning team only scored two goals and a sixth was a 1-1 tie...Walsh heads to Grand Rapids looking to find their scoring touch and turning things around in the process after going winless (0-2-1) in their last three. McKendry would no doubt like to see his team end their mini-skid before coming back to wrap up league play with a pair of home games against Lake Catholic and St. Edward the following weekend.
University School junior defenseman George Brinn is the Great Lakes Hockey League Player of the Week for the second week in a row. One week after being honored, Brinn was at the top of his game again, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Walsh Jesuit, including the overtime game-winner.
“Players were fighting for the puck in the offensive zone and George was patiently waiting at the blue line for an opening down the middle,” said Preppers head coach Andre Lacroix. “As soon as he saw Muha with the puck he skated alone towards the net and let a wrist shot top corner for the winning goal.”
“He knows how to pace himself and to choose the right moment to go for it,” Lacroix added.
Brinn now has 26 points (6-20-26) from the blue line in 22 games played for US this season. He was held off the scoresheet only once in the last nine games—University’s 3-1 loss to Gilmour Academy on Saturday—but has points in all of the other eight games, including five multi-point efforts.
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); George Brinn, University School (Jan. 17)
Former University School Prepper Ryan Gorbett ’16 ranks second all-time in the Great Lakes Hockey League with 53 points in 30 league games. No one in league history has accumulated more than his 35 assists.
He set the single-season record for assists (14) in 2014-15, which has since been matched by a pair of St. Edward Eagles, Stephen O’Sullivan and Danny McGuire.
“Ryan was extremely a huge part of our success at US,” said Preppers head coach Andre Lacroix. “He always seemed to come up with an important goal or a great assist to make a difference in the game.”
In his senior season, 2015-16, Gorbett posted a 101-point season, scoring 41 goals and adding 60 assists in 36 games played.
“Ryan always worked very hard in practice and his mental approach to the game was exceptional,” said Lacroix.
Following his graduation from US, Gorbett played for the Northern Cyclones of the Eastern Hockey League. He produced 21 points (7-14-21) in 43 games for the New Hampshire-based Junior A franchise.
He moved to the Islanders Hockey Club (North Andover, MA) of the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL—Premier Division) for the current season and so far, in 35 games for the Islanders, Gorbett has scored 12 goals and added 15 assists for 27 points.