The fifth annual Cleveland Cup Tournament takes place at OBM Arena this week as the Great Lakes Hockey League crowns its champion following an exciting regular season. The field for Friday’s semifinal games will be whittled down by a total of three quarterfinal games to be played Tuesday and Wednesday evening .
There was an intense race down the stretch in the GLHL, with five teams within three points of the top spot in the standings going into the final weekend of the regular season. With five teams in contention—and four semifinal spots available—that means a very competitive team will be weeded out in the first round of the tournament.
St. Edward and Holy Name ended up in the fourth– and fifth-place spots when the dust settled, so they will go head-to-head in the lone game on Tuesday’s night. The Namers won the first four meetings between the two schools, which included district semifinal match-ups in 2013 & 2014, but the Eagles have won the last five meetings.
Walsh Jesuit will go up against Padua Franciscan, and Gilmour Academy will take on Lake Catholic, in Wednesday’s quarterfinal games.
Top seed and regular season champion University School is able to get some rest, having earned a first-round bye, but that is the extent of their reward as they are assured of having a tough draw for Friday’s early (6:00 p.m.) semifinal. The Preppers will take on the St. Edward-Holy Name winner while Wednesday’s winners will face off in the other semifinal.
|FORWARD||Ethan Whetstone||senior||University School|
|FORWARD||Jonathan Gabriel||senior||Walsh Jesuit|
|FORWARD||Tanyan Bajzer||freshman||St. Edward|
|DEFENSE||George Brinn||junior||University School|
|DEFENSE||Tyler Fowles||freshman||St. Edward|
|GOALTENDER||Duncan Nichols-Delay||junior||Gilmour Academy|
|COACH OF THE YEAR||Tim Sullivan||15th season||Holy Name|
|SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD||Matt Mangel||senior||Gilmour Academy|
|PLAYER OF THE YEAR||Will be announced 2/10|
GILMOUR ACADEMY > The Lancers are coming off their strongest finish ever in the Great Lakes Hockey League regular season, and are looking to follow that up by making some noise in the Cleveland Cup. Gilmour has yet to win a game in the winners bracket of the tournament. They defeated Holy Name, 6-3, in a consolation bracket game in 2015...Freshman forward Charlie Tuggey scored the lone goal in the Lancers’ regular season finale, a 1-0 win over Holy Name at Ries Rink on Saturday night. He found the net again on Sunday, scoring GA’s first goal in their 4-3 win over Meadville (PA)...Junior goaltender Duncan Nichols-Delay has not allowed more than two goals in a game since a 3-1 loss to Walsh Jesuit on December 16. He is 8-0-2 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .957 save percentage since December 22 and has not allowed more than three goals in any game this season. For his efforts he was named the All-League goalie.
HOLY NAME > Holy Name is coming off their strongest season in league play since the GLHL’s inaugural season of 2013-14. They would love to build on last year’s post-season showing, as their 5-2 win over Walsh Jesuit in the 2017 Cleveland Cup Quarterfinals was their first-ever win in the tournament...Saturday’s 1-0 loss to GA was a tough way to have a personal seven-game unbeaten streak (5-0-2) snapped for senior goaltender Anna Cvitkovich. Cvitkovich was 2-2-2 with a 3.25 goals-against average and .873 save percentage through the Padua Holiday Hockey Tournament, but has gone 5-1-1/1.36/.947 since.
LAKE CATHOLIC > The Cougars have been shut out in the Cleveland Cup Quarterfinals each of the last two years, but look for them to end that trend as putting the puck in the net has been a strength of this year’s team...Lake Catholic defeated Holy Name in quarterfinal games in 2014 & 2015, but has gone out in the first round the last two years...Senior goaltender Patrick Kristo led all GLHL goaltenders with 284 saves in league play this season. His 509 saves overall also led all goalies from GLHL squads...Senior forward Cole Horvath enters the post-season with 29 goals in 29 games played.
PADUA FRANCISCAN > Padua will go up against Walsh Jesuit in a Cleveland Cup Quarterfinal game for the second time in three years. The Warriors beat the Bruins 6-1 in 2016, but Padua does have a win over Walsh in GLHL post-season play. Padua defeated the Warriors, 9-1, in a 2015 consolation game...A pair of Bruins are closing in on the century mark for penalty minutes this season—Evan Acino (99) and Trent Cramer (97).
ST. EDWARD > No freshman was ever been named to the GLHL All-Star Team until this year when not one, but two, St. Edward Eagles were so honored—forward Tanyan Bajzer and defenseman Tyler Fowles...St. Edward has their eyes firmly on the Cleveland Cup. They are the only team other than Saint Ignatius or University School to play in a Cleveland Cup Final, having defeated the Preppers, 3-1, in last year’s semifinals to make it into the championship game where they dropped a 5-2 decision to the rival Wildcats. The Eagles have won their Cleveland Cup Quarterfinal each of the last three years.
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL > Junior forward Jack Henry Muha won the GLHL scoring title with 20 points (11-9-20) in 12 league games—the first time the league’s top scorer was not a senior. Muha is the third Prepper in the last four years to lead the league in scoring (Evan Krueger 15-6-21 in 2014-15 and JD Clemens 10-12-22 in 2015-16)...Senior forward Ethan Whetstone and junior defenseman George Brinn garnered Great Lakes Hockey League All-League honors.
WALSH JESUIT > Walsh senior Jakhari Desphy, who led all GLHL goaltender with seven wins in league play this season, completed his four-year run as the Warriors’ starter with 19 wins, 1,938 minutes and 866 saves in league play—all of which stand as league records (regular season only)...Jonathan Gabriel’s 10 goals in 12 league games earned him a spot on the GLHL All-Star Team.
Lake Catholic junior forward Jacob Schmitt was the Great Lakes Hockey League Player of the Week for the final week of the regular season.
Schmitt picked up a pair of assists in the Cougars’ 6-0 win over Padua Franciscan, then scored both Lake Catholic goals in a loss to Walsh Jesuit in the regular season finale.
“We had a good league win and a bad loss but he showed up in both games both as a distributor and a finisher,” said Lake Catholic head coach Justin Vance. “You know Jacob is going to show up every game and every day for practice. He gives you 100% effort every time he touches the ice and plays the game the right way.”
The second-year varsity player has points in 10 of his last 12 games, producing 21 points (10-11-21) in that span. With a year of eligibility remaining, has an opportunity to be an elite player in the state next year.
“I'm happy to see him get recognized this week,” said Vance. “He's deserved it all year.
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); Ethan Whetstone, University School (Jan. 31)