The 22nd annual Padua Holiday Hockey Tournament took place last weekend with top programs from all over the state descending on OBM Arena in Strongsville for a pre-Christmas test. Five teams from the Great Lakes Hockey League competed, posting a combined 10-6-4 record, with the top three teams all winning their placement game on Sunday. Two teams, in particular, put in good showings.
The St. Edward Eagles won the prestigious tournament for the fourth time, capturing the title for the first time since 2008.
“The Padua Tourney has always been looked at as a stepping stone for the state tourney,” said Eagles head coach Troy Gray. “Our kids did a great job. Our compete level was high and we played very disciplined hockey.”
While St. Edward swept all four of their games to win the tournament championship, University School also went undefeated (3-0-1), but had to settle for third place after finishing just behind the Eagles in the preliminary round and defeating St. Charles, 5-2, in the the consolation round.
Holy Name came in seventh, defeating state runner-up Toledo St. Francis in their opening game, and shutting out Toledo St. John’s, 5-0 on Sunday.
Shaker Heights, competing in the tournament for the first time, also did not lose a game in the preliminary round (1-0-2) but with two ties that was only good for fifth out of six teams in their group. They lost their consolation game to Findlay, resulting in a very misleading 10th place finish.
Walsh Jesuit travelled to West Virginia, playing three games to stay sharp as they get ready to go into a stretch of three league games in four days that could go a long way to determining whether they finish in the top half or the bottom half of the league standings this year.
Gilmour Academy and Lake Catholic were both idle last week but return to action. Gilmour hosts Walsh Jesuit in a league game Friday night, then plays Padua Tournament runner-up Olentangy Liberty in a non-league contest Saturday.
Lake Catholic hosts Walsh in a mid-week league contest Wednesday night at Mentor Civic Arena, then plays their first-round game of the Thornton Park Tournament on Thursday.
GILMOUR ACADEMY > Gilmour Academy was ranked #1 in the first state coaches poll released on Tuesday. The Lancers an opportunity to work on some things in practice and reflect on their current five-game winning streak that has their season off to a 10-1-1 start. Senior forward Charlie Valenti leads the team in assists (12) and points (18) through the first dozen games and goaltenders Tobias Herlong and Jac Lymn have combined for five shutouts already.
HOLY NAME > The Green Wave have produced a wave of goals in the first half of the season. Holy Name has scored more total goals (70) than any other team in the GLHL, and are lighting the lamp an average of 4.38 time per game. Sebastiano Layne (12), Brennan Dickey (11), Joey Martin (10) and Milo Henry (10) have all hit double-digit goals before Christmas...Sophomore goaltender J. J. Light burst onto the scene with a pair of shutouts on the big stage at the Padua Tournament. Light made 20 saves to shut out Toledo St. Francis in a preliminary round game, then posted a 27-save whitewashing of Toledo St. John’s in the consolation round.
LAKE CATHOLIC > Lake Catholic won the Benedictine Tournament with a 3-1 win over the host Bengals on Sunday, December 9. The Cougars then took some time to rest up for a busy holiday season. “We’re going to play in three tournaments in December and that can be grueling for a short roster,” said Lake Catholic head coach Justin Vance. “It was a good weekend to have a short break.” The Cougars host Walsh Jesuit Wednesday, then face off against GCHSHL power Rocky River Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Thornton Park Tournament. “They humbled us on our home ice last week,” said Vance. “I expect our guys to have a heightened sense of focus and urgency when we start the tournament against them.”
PADUA FRANCISCAN > Despite a winless record at their holiday tournament, Padua Franciscan had solid showings against tournament runner-up Olentangy Liberty and Toledo St. Francis, which has played in the state final the last two years...Goal-scoring continues to be a challenge for the Bruins who were without their top scorer Justin Eles for the tournament. The Bruins face Strongsville Friday evening in the quarterfinals of the Thornton Park Tournament.
ST. EDWARD > The four-game sweep against a slate of state contenders at the Padua Tournament gives the Eagles seven wins in their last eight games, and winning a big in-season tournament can give a team a big boost, but head coach Troy Gray said the team has another statement to make this week. “We know who wasn't there and we look forward to playing them on Thursday night,” Gray said in reference to a tilt against rival Saint Ignatius. “Ed’s-Iggy games always bring heightened awareness, these kinds of games are why you go to these schools.”...The Eagles continue to get major contributions from young players. Sophomore forward Tanyon Bajzer’s overall scoring numbers lead the league in both goals (16) and points (28). Sophomore goaltender Nate Cappellazzo started and won all four games at the Padua Tournament, stopping 81 of 89 shots in all (.910 SV%).
SHAKER HEIGHTS > Shaker Heights competed at the Padua Tournament for the first time and had a strong showing despite what their 10th place finish would indicate. They were unbeaten through the preliminary round (1-0-2), losing only their final placement game against Findlay...The Red Raiders host the Thornton Park Tournament this weekend—one of the few high school tournament that still uses a fixed bracket format...Shaker opens up with former GCHSHL Red North rival Hudson on Thursday.
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL > University School started their league schedule late, and have not played a home game yet, so they are a little back in the weeds in the standings. But a 3-0-1 showing at the Padua Tournament shows that the Preppers are on top of their game...US opens their home schedule Saturday at 5:00 p.m., hosting St. Edward at the Cleveland Heights Rec Center in what could be one of the top games to watch this week.
WALSH JESUIT >The young Walsh Jesuit Warriors started slowly this season, but are unbeaten (4-0-1) over their last five games. Walsh has scored 25 goals over that five-game stretch after a 1-4-1 start to the season during which they only scored 11 times. Senior Geremy Davison has produced 12 points (4-8-12) during his current five-game point streak and leads the team with 15 points (7-8-15) on the season. Sophomore Sacha Trudel scored five goals (5-1-6) on the three-game trip last week—including a hat trick in a 4-4 tie against Wheeling Park (WV). Trudel now leads the Warriors with eight goals on the season.
Holy Name junior forward Brennan Dickey was named the Great Lakes Hockey League Player of the Week following his seven-point performance at the Padua Holiday Hockey Tournament over the weekend.
Dickey scored a pair of goals, and added five assists, for seven points over the four-game tournament that every year brings together many of the top contenders for the state crown.
Dickey played on the blue line or the Namers as a freshman and sophomore and is making the transition to forward look easy this season.
He has produced 13 points (3-10-13) during a seven-game point streak that he carried into Friday’s game in Pennsylvania against the Meadville Bulldogs.
Dickey has nine multiple-point efforts in his first 16 games of the season and, entering this week, led the league with 17 assists and 28 points (tied).
Holy Name head coach Tim Sullivan appreciates the contributions Brennan has made to the team this year.
“Brennan has had a great junior year to date,” said Sullivan. “His leadership on and off the ice is contagious and that helps breed success.”
PREVIOUS WINNERS—Tanyon Bajzer (St. Edward), November 28; Dominic Casamatta (Gilmour Academy), December 5
Jamie Bucell, a sophomore at Utica College (NCAA Division III) was a key player on Holy Name’s 2013-14 team that went 7-3-0 in the inaugural season of the Great Lakes Hockey League.
He scored 68 points that season (25-43-68), teaming with 30-goal scorers Joey Meehan and Tim Higginbotham to form one of the top lines in the state.
Bucell headed east the following season to play junior hockey in the Eastern Hockey League, spending a season with the New Hampshire Jr. Monarchs, then two with the Philadelphia Little Flyers.
His junior career culminated with a 50-point season (22-28-50) in 48 games during the 2016-17 EHL regular season. He then put up nine points (2-7-9) in 12 playoff games in the Little Flyers’ run to the EHL’s “Frozen Finals”.
At Utica, Bucell produced four points (2-2-4) in 16 games as a freshman, helping the Pioneers to both the regular season and tournament championships in the inaugural season of the United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC).
He has equaled that goal total in his first seven games of the 2018-19 season.