The Great Lakes Hockey League returns to league play this week after non-league and tournament action over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. As play resumes following the break, just six points separate first place from seventh in the league standings with Gilmour Academy one point ahead of Holy Name for the top spot.
The first-place Lancers are the only GLHL team not playing a league game this week. Gilmour will host the 2019 Brother James Memorial Tournament at Gilmour Academy Ice Arena. That means that, by the end of the weekend, the league standings may be even tighter than they already are if that’s possible.
St. Edward, University School and Holy Name will all play a pair of league games this week while Padua Franciscan, which hasn’t played since December 23, jumps back into action with a GLHL three-in-three.
The Bruins will play St. Edward at OBM Arena on Friday, then face Walsh Jesuit at Kent State Saturday, and head to the East Side to face Shaker Heights at Thornton Park Sunday.
Great Lakes Hockey League teams kept to a pretty light schedule over the holidays, but Walsh Jesuit and Lake Catholic hosted tournaments.
Walsh put on the Warrior Shootout while Lake Catholic hosted the Cougar Holiday Showcase.
The Cougars lost to Mentor, 5-4 in overtime, but got another shot at the rival Cardinals in the title game and prevailed in a thrilling nine-round shootout to claim the tournament title.
GLHL IN THE STATE RANKINGS—The latest Ohio High School Hockey Coach’s Poll came out on New Year’s Day and five GLHL teams appeared in the Top 10. Gilmour Academy was #2 for the second week in a row behind Saint Ignatius. Gilmour was #1 in the first poll of the season.
St. Edward was right behind the Lancers at #3 while Holy Name dropped one spot to #5. University School held steady at #7 while Shaker Heights broke into the Top 10, tying for the final spot with Toledo St. John’s.
Holy Name's Milo Henry pulled off a natural hat trick in the third period to give the Green Wave a 3-2 win over Walsh jesuit at The Q on December 22
GILMOUR ACADEMY > Although Gilmour had a six-game winning streak snapped with a 3-2 shootout loss to Olentangy Liberty on December 22, the Lancers have still not lost in regulation this season. Their other loss came to Holy Name in a league game that went to overtime on November 30—also by a score of 3-2. GA returns to action when they host the Brother James Memorial Tournament January 4-6 at Gilmour Ice Arena. The Lancers are scheduled to play Toledo St. Francis, Bethel Park (PA) and Team Indiana (IN) in the round robin portion of the tournament...Senior forward Dominic Casamatta broke a scoreless tie with 50 seconds left in the third period to give Gilmour a 1-0 win over Walsh Jesuit in a league game on December 21. It extended Casamatta’s current goal-scoring streak to five games.
HOLY NAME > Holy Name found themselves in second place in the league standings at the holiday break—just a single point behind Gilmour. The Green Wave have four wins in five league games with their only loss coming by a score of 3-2 at St. Edward in their first game of the season…Junior forward Milo Henry scored three times in the third period to spark the Namers to a 3-2 comeback win over Walsh Jesuit in a league game played at Quicken Loans Arena on December 22. The Green Wave also rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the first period to come back and defeat Meadville (PA), 5-4, in overtime on Saturday, December 29. Sebastiano Layne scored his second goal of the game in sudden-death to give Holy Name their first lead of that game and complete the comeback...Holy Name has won both of their overtime games this season.
LAKE CATHOLIC > The championship game of the 2018 Cougar Holiday Showcase last Sunday ended up being the third nail-biter of the season between the Lake Catholic Cougars and their in-house rivals, the Mentor Cardinals. The Cards won in overtime in the first game of the round robin. The title game went deeper than that, as a nine-round shootout was required to determine a winner. Mentor also defeated Lake Catholic, 1-0, on December 22.
PADUA FRANCISCAN > The Padua Franciscan Bruins have played a very ambitious schedule this season. Not only did they host the state’s top in-season tournament, the Padua Holiday Hockey Tournament, December 14-16, they shuck another high-profile event, Shaker’s Thornton Park Tournament, in before Christmas. The Bruins return to action with three league games in three days this weekend, play a home-and-home with rival Holy Name next week, then play in the Cleveland Jesuit Classic January 18-21.
ST. EDWARD > St. Edward Eagles enjoyed a lengthy hiatus in their schedule over the holidays. When the Eagles take the ice Friday evening against Padua at OBM Arena, it will have been 12 days since their last game. The Eagles last played on December 22 when they dropped an overtime thriller against University School. The Eagles and Preppers have a re-match Saturday evening at Winterhurst.
SHAKER HEIGHTS > The Red Raiders took the holidays off after participating in the Padua Holiday Tournament and their own Thornton Park Tournament over a 10-day window prior to Christmas. Shaker had a strong showing in their maiden voyage in the Padua Tournament, and followed that up with a runner-up showing in their own event, following a 2-1 loss to Mentor in the championship game.
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL > University School headed to the Keystone State for the PA Scholastic Showcase last week. The Preppers dropped all three games there to see their season record fall to 5-9-2 but, at 1-1-1 in league play, and with seven of their 10 GLHL games still ahead of them, they are not about to push the panic button. With the GLHL standings as tight as they are, US is still very much in the thick of the race.
WALSH JESUIT > Freshman goaltender Brody Lerch was bombarded with 58 shots by Gilmour Academy on December 21. He stopped 57 of them, keeping the Lancers off the board until the final minute of the game. Lerch lost his first three varsity starts but, since then, the rookie is 3-2-1 with a 1.84 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.
Geremy Davison of Walsh Jesuit is this week’s Great Lakes Hockey League Player of the Week. Davison scored a goal in every game for the Warriors at the Greg Shupe Memorial Warrior Shootout last weekend.
Davison started the tournament off with a two-goal performance in a 6-3 win over Springboro. It was his third multi-goal game of the season.
He also found the net in the Warriors’ 5-3 win over Rocky River and contributed a pair of assists as well.
Davison, a senior forward, has supplied the young Walsh team with some experience. He leads the Warriors in goals (13), assists (12) and points (25). He scored one of two Walsh goals in a 4-2 loss to St. Charles in the final game of the tournament.
“Geremy has been a model player for us all season,” said Walsh Jesuit head coach Pat McKendry. “He has worked very hard. He has accepted a go-to role in our offense very well. We cannot be more proud of the effort that Geremy puts in every night when the puck drops. We are very proud to have him leading the way as he has this year as our top scorer.”
PREVIOUS WINNERS—Tanyon Bajzer (St. Edward), November 28; Dominic Casamatta (Gilmour Academy), December 5; Brennan Dickey (Holy Name), December 19
Shaker Heights native Ben Simon played high school hockey for the Red Raiders and advanced all the way to the NHL.
After torching the high school rinks around Northeast Ohio to the tune of 61 goals and 129 points in just 25 games in 1994-95, Simon spend a season of junior hockey with the Cleveland Barons, then went on to play four seasons at Notre Dame, serving as captain his senior year, and getting drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks following his freshman season.
Simon helped lead the Grand Rapids Griffins to an AHL Calder Cup championship in 2017 as an assistant coach and, this summer, was named the head coach of the Griffins—the top farm team of the Detroit Red Wings.
In 2013-14, Simon coached the ECHL's Cincinnati Cyclones and led them to the Kelly Cup finals.
A fifth-round draft selection by the Blackhawks in 1997, Simon logged 81 career games in the NHL between the Atlanta Thrashers (2001-04) and Columbus Blue Jackets (2005-06). Overall, Simon appeared in 762 regular season professional games in his 10-year career.