Severe weather cut into a heavy high school hockey schedule over the long MLK Weekend but, despite some games being cancelled, tournaments went forward and Great Lakes Hockey League members Gilmour Academy (St. Andrew’s MLK Tournament) and Lake Catholic (Pioneer Classic) were among the teams to go home with championship trophies.
This week, the focus returns to the league standings. The top two teams in the league standings—Holy Name and St. Edward—will be out of state, but the other two teams still in the hunt for the regular season title—Gilmour and University School—will play league games, including their head-to-head meeting that will have a big impact on the race.
The Lancers stayed alive in their quest for a regular season title to go along with last year’s Cleveland Cup tournament win, thanks to a 5-3 win at Lake Catholic Wednesday night.
The Preppers are in fifth place in the standings based on points but, with four league games remaining on their schedule, are still mathematically alive as they attempt to defend their 2017-18 GLHL regular season title.
University School will host Shaker Heights Saturday and Gilmour Academy on Sunday. Both games will face off at Cleveland Heights Rec Center at 5:00 p.m. If the Preppers can win both games, the final week of the regular season will be a four-team sprint to the finish.
For three of the four teams still mathematically alive, a regular season title would be a first for them. US split the inaugural season title with Walsh Jesuit and won the title outright last season. Former league member Saint Ignatius finished in first place the three years in between.
HOW DOES THE GLHL RANK?—The Great Lakes Hockey League accounts for four of the top six spots in the Ohio High School Hockey Poll. Gilmour Academy remains in the top spot in this week’s coach’s poll. St. Edward ranks #3 with Holy Name #5 and University School moving up a spot this week to #6.
GILMOUR ACADEMY > The MLK Tournament in Aurora, Ontario became the fourth in-season tournament win for Gilmour Academy. The Lancers defeated King City (ON), 3-2 in a shootout to win the final. The win avenged a 3-1 loss to the same team in the round-robin which was only the second regulation loss of the season for the Lancers (21-1-2-1)...Gilmour is getting plenty of practice in tournament play as they prepare to defend their Cleveland Cup championship in a few weeks...The Lancers played five games in three days at the St. Andrew’s Tournament and had a quick turnaround to play Lake Catholic at Mentor Civic Arena Wednesday night, claiming two very important points in the league standings with a 5-3 win.
HOLY NAME > Holy Name head coach Tim Sullivan should be happy with a 2-0-1 showing at the Cleveland Jesuit Classic. The Green Wave was rolling, winning five in a row—including four league games—to jump into first place a week ago. But a 3-1 loss to University School and a 3-3 draw with Rocky River halted the Namers’ momentum. The team responded, however, by beating Findlay, 5-3, on Saturday, then came back Sunday afternoon and knocked off the #6 team in the state, Olentangy Liberty, in a shootout. Holy Name is in Fraser, MI this weekend for a pair of games against U18 AAA competition but, with a narrow lead atop the league standings, they might be doing some scoreboard watching.
LAKE CATHOLIC > Lake Catholic won their third tournament of the season, capturing the hardware at the Pioneer Classic with a 7-6 overtime win over Newark...The Cougars were back on the ice Wednesday night hosting Gilmour Academy. They fell short, 5-3, but showed how dangerous they are offensively, scoring twice in the last 2:48 of the game to get within a goal.
PADUA FRANCISCAN > The severe weather we experienced over the weekend cost the Padua Bruins a few chances to test themselves against quality opponents as games against Culver Academy (IN) and a non-league game against GLHL foe Walsh Jesuit were cancelled. The Bruins did get on the ice Friday night against Findlay, dropping a 7-1 decision to the Trojans.
ST. EDWARD > On their second trip to Ontario this season, the St. Edward Eagles lost their opening game of the St. Andrew’s Tournament, but then rattled off three straight wins to finish in third place before hustling back to Cleveland to play a league game against Walsh Jesuit. Showing no signs of fatigue, the Eagles posted a convincing 6-1 win over the Warriors to keep their GLHL regular season title hopes alive. St. Edward is only a point back of Holy Name, but has just one league game remaining, next Friday, February 1, against Shaker Heights at Winterhurst. The Eagles are in Grand Rapids, MI for a tournament this week.
SHAKER HEIGHTS > Their third game at the Cleveland Jesuit Classic was cancelled, but the Shaker Heights Red Raiders managed to pull off one of their most impressive wins of the campaign before the snow stopped the fun. Shaker knocked off #6 Olentangy Liberty on Saturday by a score of 5-2. The Patriots were the #6 team in the Ohio High School Hockey Poll at the time...Shaker lost their first game to Culver Academy, 5-3, on Friday.
UNIVERSITY SCHOOL > The weather did not play havoc with University School’s appearance at the Titan Invitational, played at the Tam O’Shanter in Sylvania. The Preppers split their four games, starting off with wins over Dublin Coffman (6-2) and Cincinnati Moeller (6-3) before ending the event on a down note with setbacks against Providence (IL) Catholic (5-3) and Dublin Jerome (8-2).
WALSH JESUIT > Two of their four games at the Cleveland Jesuit Classic were canceled due to the weather, but a thrilling 1-0 win over Olentangy Liberty on Friday must have made up for at least some of that disappointment for the Walsh Jesuit Warriors. Freshman Brody Lerch registered his first varsity shutout, stopping all 25 shots the Patriots threw at him. Lerch had allowed one goal in a game three times in a span of 11 days in December, but had come up short looking for the shutout. Sophomore Anthony Calleri scored the game’s only goal with 17 seconds remaining in the first period
For the second week in a row, the Great Lakes Hockey League Player of the Week is a Lake Catholic Cougar.
Lake Catholic senior forward Jacob Schmitt produced multiple points in all four games to lead the Cougars to the tournament championship at the Pioneer Classic. Schmitt scored seven goals and added four assists for 11 points—including a hat trick in the 7-6 shootout win over Newark in the championship game.
“He’s been great for us all season and our most consistent player,” said Cougars head coach Justin Vance. “Not only is he a really talented offensive threat but he also leads our team in blocked shots and hits. He is a complete hockey player.”
Schmitt leads all Great Lakes Hockey League scorers in goals (31) and points (54) this season. He has done so in 27 games played, so he is scoring at a clip of exactly 2.0 points per game.
The senior has also scored nine goals in seven league games (9-3-12).
“When your leading point scorer is also one of your best defensive players it sets the bar really high for the rest of the team,” said Vance. “He’s usually the first player on the ice for practice and the last one off. He’s a huge part of our team culture and success this year and I’m glad he’s getting recognized for his efforts with the numbers and production. He deserves all of the credit he gets.
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; Niko Negron (Holy Name), January 11; Amaedeo Cantini (Lake Catholic), January 1
Former University School star Tyler Dalton is currently in his senior season at the University of Michigan-Dearborn where he is an alternate captain for the Division I ACHA team.
As a freshman at UM-Dearborn in 2015-16, Dalton scored four goals and assisted on 12 others for 16 points in 28 games—including a pair of assists in two games at the National Championships.
Dalton has nine points (2-7-9) in 19 games this season for the Wolverines, who are the #2 team in the nation with a record of 16-2-1.
He played hockey and baseball at US, receiving the John Staple Award as the best athlete from his graduating class, then played two seasons of junior hockey before moving on to college.
The Northfield, OH native split the 2013-14 season between the Chicago Jr. Bulldogs and Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks in the NA3HL, combining for 47 points (22-25-47) in 43 games played between the two teams.
He returned to Cleveland for his final season of junior hockey, putting up 55 points (19-36-55) in 47 games for the Jr. Jacks.
Dalton, who has been an even or plus player (+/-) his entire college career, is majoring in business finance