Just five points separate the top seven teams in the Great Lakes Hockey League standings with a heavy slate of action this week. Six league games are on the docket, including a big tilt between Shaker Heights and Gilmour Academy on Friday night.
Gilmour also faces St. Edward on Sunday in another key game as the Lancers fight to recover the top spot in the league standings they gave up while playing non-league games last week.
Gilmour hosted and won the Brother James Tournament—their third tournament win of what is shaping up to be a great follow-up season to their 2018 Cleveland Cup championship campaign. Despite having fewer first-place votes than Saint Ignatius this week (5-3), they recovered the top spot in the Ohio High School Hockey Poll.
St. Edward, which kicks off the week Wednesday night at Lake Catholic, will also meet Shaker Heights Saturday night at Thornton Park in another clash of teams in the top four in the league standings.
St. Edward head coach Troy Gray picked up career win number 200 on Saturday as the Eagles edged University School, 4-3, getting some payback for a 3-2 overtime loss to the Preppers just before Christmas.
“This is truly about the kids who we coaches have been blessed to be around,” Gray said about the milestone win. “The ones that are selfless and care more about their team and this school and program than anything else.”
The Lancers, Eagles and Red Raiders are all within three points of the Holy Name Green Wave going into play this week. Holy Name will try to fend off the rest of the league by taking care of business in a home-and-home series against rival Padua Franciscan.
The Bruins are still looking for their first league win of the season, but came close last weekend with a pair of one-goal losses to Walsh Jesuit (5-4) and Shaker Heights (3-2). The Namers can’t look past the Bruins, who would no doubt love to throw a wrench into their plans to hold on for the regular season title
GILMOUR ACADEMY > It was a good news-bad news-good news weekend for John Malloy’s Gilmour Academy Lancers as they hosted and won the Brother James Memorial Tournament but, without accumulating any points in league play, gave up the top spot in the Great Lakes Hockey League standings to Holy Name. On Tuesday, however, the new Ohio High School Poll came out and the Lancers found out they had re-claimed the top spot from Saint Ignatius after the Wildcats were #1 for the last two weeks.
HOLY NAME > Holy Name moved into first place in the GLHL standings with a 6-2 win over Shaker Heights last Saturday night in front of the Namers faithful at Ries Rink. The Green Wave can expect some push-back from the Gilmour team they unseated—among others—but have their November 30 overtime win over the Lancers in their back pocket should that tie-breaker come into play.
LAKE CATHOLIC > Lake Catholic’s game at University School last Sunday was the last time the Cougars will play on the road until their regular season finale at Walsh Jesuit on February 2. The Cougars will play at Mentor Civic Arena on four consecutive Wednesday nights.
PADUA FRANCISCAN > The wins have been hard to come by for Padua Franciscan this season, but they have been knocking on the door a lot lately. The Bruins suffered their third one-goal loss in the last four games on Sunday, falling to Shaker Heights, 3-2. They came up just short against Walsh Jesuit, 5-4, on Saturday. Finding the net four times, however, was their biggest offensive output since a 5-2 win over Dublin Coffman on December 2. Padua seems due for a win as they head into their home-and-home with Holy Name. “We have been shorthanded all year with injuries, and have yet to have a practice or game with our entire squad all year so there's been some mixing and matching with personnel that has been a challenge.” said Bruins head coach Perry Cohagan. “But the boys have worked hard and refuse to quit, and are beginning to execute at a higher level.
ST. EDWARD > St. Edward’s 4-3 win over University School last Saturday was the career 200th win for Eagles head coach Troy Gray. “One of the things we truly believe in is humility,” said Gray. “So yes, 200 is nice and I’m sure when I look back on what we have accomplished, I’ll be proud, but it’s all about focusing on the daily habits of becoming a better person, a better teammate, and better hockey players, and if we take care of those things the wins will come.
SHAKER HEIGHTS > The Shaker Heights Red Raiders are right in the thick of things as they head into their first stretch drive as members of the GLHL. Tight races for the regular season crown are a regular occurrence in this league and the Red Raiders are enjoying their first time through it. “It has been a valuable experience for our team with so many young players on the roster,” said head coach Matt Bartley. “Playing GLHL league games instead of the various tournaments or independent games has been exciting.”
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL > University School will head to Pennsylvania for a pair of games this weekend against Meadville and Cathedral Prep. It is the second trip to the Keystone State in three weeks for the Preppers, who played in a tournament between Christmas and New Year’s. They will be looking to avenge a 1-0 loss to Cathedral Prep December 1 at the National Interscholastic Showcase in Jamestown, NY.
WALSH JESUIT > Walsh Jesuit is still in the race but, with only three league games remaining, they will have a tough time finishing in the top four...The Warriors head west this week to play non-league games at Findlay and Toledo St. John’s...Walsh will play six of their final seven games at home, including four more non-league games. They will host #6-ranked Olentangy Liberty on January 18 and play GCHSHL Red Division contender Rocky River at home and on the road
Holy Name Green Wave senior forward Niko Negron is the Great Lakes Hockey League Player of the Week for the period ending January 6.
Negron picked a great time to snap a six-game goal draught, tallying a hat trick in Holy Name’s 6-2 win over Shaker Heights last Saturday night. The win propelled the Green Wave into first place in the GLHL league standings.
The goals were Negron’s eighth, ninth and tenth of the season, making him the fifth Namer to hit double-digits in goals already this season. Holy Name has scored 89 goals on the year—19 more than any other team in the GLHL.
Holy Name head coach Tim Sullivan appreciates how Negron’s offensive game has been coming along.
"Niko has become a great offensive threat for our team,” said Sullivan. “He has an unreal quick release and has matured into a great forward by finding the open spaces.”
For the season, Negron has produced 19 points (10-9-19) in 20 games played.
He has already surpassed the 13 points (5-8-13) he put up in 30 games last year as a junior.
PREVIOUS WINNERS—Tanyon Bajzer (St. Edward), November 28; Dominic Casamatta (Gilmour Academy), December 5; Brennan Dickey (Holy Name), December 19; Geremy Davison (Walsh Jesuit), January 4
Last Sunday, January 6, Lynsey Wallace became the latest Padua Franciscan Bruin to play NCAA Division I hockey, making 27 saves in her collegiate debut for the Ohio State Buckeyes against a team of professionals—the Minnesota Whitecaps of the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL).
“It’s very tough to be a backup goalie,” said Ohio State head coach Nadine Muzerall following the game. “She came in and she played great. The whole team was very impressed with how she played.”
Wallace was a four-year starter for the Bruins. In her junior season she played in all 10 league games for Padua, putting together a 3.50 goals-against average and .880 save percentage. She finished the season with a 4-5-1 record.
Her performance that year earned her the title of All-GLHL goalie, making her the first Bruin ever to win a GLHL league award.
Her last high school season saw her post the highest save percentage of her career at .904. She also set a personal best in saves (339) while facing more shots than she ever had.
After her final game with Padua, Wallace held the GLHL record with 788 career saves (league games only) and had logged the second-most minutes of any goaltender the league had seen with 1,295 (Jakhari Desphy, a four-year starter at Walsh Jesuit, now holds both records)