The Great Lakes Hockey League enters the final week of regular season play with five teams within three points of first place. There are seven league games left on the schedule this week. All seven teams in the league play twice except for Padua Franciscan, which plays three times, and Gilmour Academy, which has just one league game (and two possible points) remaining. The Lancers, who enter the final week tied with Holy Name for second place, visit the Namers at Ries Rink on Saturday night in what is sure to be a raucous night of high school hockey.
“You want the season championship coming down to the last weekend,” said Holy Name head coach Tim Sullivan. “It makes it fun. We can control our own destiny, however, we have two very difficult teams in front of us.”
University School sits in the pole position, a point ahead of GA and Holy Name, thanks to a 3-1 win over the Lancers on Sunday. The Preppers have home games remaining Friday and Saturday against Holy Name and Padua, and are assured the top spot if they win out.
The Green Wave control their own destiny as well, but need a win at US on Friday to give themselves a shot at claiming the points title Saturday night in front of their fans at Ries Rink.
St. Edward is still mathematically alive, but needs a perfect storm of results in the other games if they want their game at Walsh on Sunday—the final game on the league schedule—is to play a role in determining first place.
The league’s regular season title has always been something worth fighting for, but this season there are more than bragging rights on the line. The top-seeded team will get a bye that will allow them to skip the quarterfinals and go directly into Friday’s semifinal round (see page 4).
Another thing to keep in mind, in what has turned into a tight five-team race down the stretch, is that the fourth- and fifth-place finishers will square off in a quarterfinal game at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday.
So, one of the contenders will be out early, and teams will be trying to positions themselves this week to avoid playing in that game.
The top five teams in the league have all scored between 30-37 goals in league play...
GILMOUR ACADEMY > The 3-1 loss to University School on Saturday snapped an eight-game winning streak for Gilmour Academy. It was the longest winning streak for the Lancers since February 5-27, 2012. That run that culminated in a 4-2 loss to US in the 2012 Kent District championship game. GA was also on a 10-game unbeaten streak (8-0-2) and was 10-1-2 over their previous 13 games...Gilmour has yet to win a game in the Cleveland Cup. They played, and lost to, Saint Ignatius in each of the first three tournaments (2014-2016). Last season they drew St. Edward in the quarterfinal, and were ousted 7-1.
HOLY NAME > Holy Name has won four league games in a row—two against Padua and two against Lake Catholic...Six of the Namers last eight wins have been by a single goal...senior goaltender Anna Cvitkovich posted a 51-save shutout of Byron Center (MI) on Saturday, but the Namers failed to score a goal themselves and the game ended in a 0-0 tie...Holy Name won a game in the Cleveland Cup for the first time last season, defeating Walsh Jesuit 5-2 in a quarterfinal game. They lost to Saint Ignatius, 8-1, in the semifinals.
LAKE CATHOLIC > The Lake Catholic Cougars will look to snap a six-game losing streak Saturday against Padua Franciscan, pick up their first league win of the season, and generate a little momentum heading into the post-season...Senior forward Jacob Schmitt hit the 40-point plateau (15-25-40).
PADUA FRANCISCAN > Padua was in Grand Rapids, MI for the Grand Rapids Catholic Showcase last weekend, dropping a pair of games to Byron Center (MI) and Grand Rapids Catholic Central (MI)...Former Bruins netminder Lynsey Wallace, the 2015-16 GLHL All-League goaltender, has officially joined the women’s hockey program at Ohio State University. Read her story here.
ST. EDWARD > St. Edward had a chance to take a share of first place when they visited Gilmour Academy on Saturday, but came up short, 4-1. The Eagles, who have lost four of their last seven games (3-4-0), have a chance to turn it around when they close out their regular season schedule with league games against Padua at Winterhurst on Friday, and Sunday against Walsh Jesuit in Kent. They will be looking to pick up some momentum heading into the Cleveland Cup Tournament. The Eagles lost to University School in the tournament semifinals each of the last two years.
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL > University School is on a 10-1-0 run as we head into the final week of regular season action, and four straight league wins have put the Preppers in a position to claim the regular season title by winning their last two games. US and Walsh Jesuit tied for the regular season title in the GLHL’s inaugural season (2013-14)...The Preppers moved up to #3 in this week’s Ohio High School Hockey Poll...Senior goaltender Kyle Flatow has won nine of his last 10 starts, allowing more than one goal just twice in that span...Junior forward Jack Henry Muha leads the GLHL in goals (10) and points (18) in league play.
WALSH JESUIT > Three of the top seven scorers in the Great Lakes Hockey League this season heading into the final week of play are Walsh Jesuit Warriors. Senior forwards Jonathan Gabriel (9-6-15), Max Miotke (8-6-14) and Steven LeVasseur (7-6-13) all have a shot at the scoring title with a strong finish in the final two games of the schedule. A fourth senior forward, Matt Morris, is not far behind with 6-4-10...Following a 3-2 loss to Grand Rapids Central Catholic (MI) on Friday—their third consecutive one-goal loss and fifth straight one-goal game or tie—the Warriors defeated Notre Dame Prep (MI) by a score of 5-0 on Saturday. It was the fourth shutout of the season for senior goaltender Jakhari Desphy...Dating back to their last game before the Christmas break, Walsh has had eight of 13 games end in a tie or a one-goal decision.
University School senior Ethan Whetstone scored a hat trick in a 7-2 win at Lake Catholic on Wednesday, picked up three assists in a 5-1 win in a re-match with the Cougars on Saturday, then scored an insurance goal for US in their key 3-1 win over Gilmour Academy on Sunday.
Whetstone, the US captain, leads the Preppers in goals (17), assists (24) and points (41) on the season.
“Ethan takes his role as Captain very seriously,” said University School head coach Andre Lacroix. “He scores goals, he gets big assists and he also blocks shots if he has to.”
Gilmour scored to get within a goal and Whetstone responded with his 17th goal of the season to give them a little breathing room in Sunday’s win, which catapulted the Preppers into first place for the first time this season.
“He is both a leader on and off the ice,” said Lacroix. “Ethan has been doing it all year for us.”
Whetstone posted 12 points (7-5-12) in 10 league games as a junior last season.
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 & 24).
Dawson DiPietro, who starred at Walsh Jesuit from 2010-2013, is tearing up the NCAA Division I ranks with the Western Michigan Broncos this season. DiPietro, playing his first full season of college hockey, has produced 27 points (11-16-27) in 26 games played overall. He recently put together a string of four straight multiple-point efforts and is tied for 8th in conference scoring in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference with 17 points (7-10-17) in 16 games played. Conference rivals for the Broncos include national powerhouses like Miami (OH), North Dakota, Denver and St. Cloud State.
DiPietro’s ability to produce offense became apparent at a young age.
“His knack for always being around the puck and the ability to put it in the net made him standout at a very young age," said Walsh Jesuit head coach Pat McKendry. “I could tell from Day One that Dawson had the ability to be a Division I player. He has a unique ability to find ways to score and every coach loves that about him."
In just three seasons at Walsh he became the Warriors’ all-time leader in goals (80) and points (168). Those marks still stand. He also boasted a career plus/minus of +62.
“Not many are as naturally gifted as Dawson,” said McKendry. “But he had to learn through the years on how to become a complete person and athlete to be as elite as he is today."