The St. John’s Titans will not be repeating as state high school
hockey champions. The Sylvania Northview Wildcats scored twice early and held on to defeat the Titans, 4-1, in a district semifinal on Saturday. Northview now draws Toledo St. Francis, a 9-0 winner of over Perrysburg in the other semi.
The St. John’s Titans will not be repeating as state high school hockey champions. The Northview Wildcats scored twice early in the game to defeat the Titans, 4-1, and eliminate the Titans from the state playoffs.
Before a capacity crowd could get comfortable in their seats, Wildcats senior Brandon Snead took a loose, bouncing puck of the boards and wristed a shot past a surprised Titan goalie, Steven Schmitt, for the first Northview goal.
Midway through the first period the Wildcats scored a second goal when the St. John’s defense broke down and allowed Northview’s Tyler Puhl to get behind them. Puhl, who played goalie this past fall for a successful Northview soccer team, took advantage of the opportunity and, only 8 minutes into the game, the Wildcats held a 2-0 lead over the defending state champions.
The Wildcats added to their lead in the second period on a power play. Brandon Snead was again the scorer and with a 3-0 lead it was beginning to appear that Northview was on its way to an easy win. The Titans, however, were not ready to give up on their dream of returning to Columbus.
Titan Ray Morris quickly took charge only thirty seconds later when he sent a smoking shot past the left shoulder of Wildcat goalie, Craig Trego. The Morris’ goal gave the Titans new life and the intensity of the play from both teams increased substantially.
Late in the second period, however, Northview put an exclamation point on their victory when Eamonn Reynolds scored the fourth Wildcat goal. Northview goalie Craig Treggo and the Wildcat defense took charge in the final period and closed down any further attempts by the Titans to get back into the game.
With their win Northview advances to the district finals next Saturday against St. Francis. The game will played at Sylvania Tam-O-Shanter at 7 p.m.
TOLEDO ST. FRANCIS 9, PERRYSBURG 0
It has been 25 years since a team from outside the Red Division of the Northwest Ohio Hockey League (the league is divided into three divisions) has qualified to play in the district semi-finals but Perrysburg’s upset of Bowling Green earlier this week broke that streak. Breaking that streak was a formidable accomplishment but facing the St. Francis Knights in the districts was an even bigger task. A task that proved too difficult as the Yellow Jackets fell, 9-0, to the Knights.
The Yellow Jackets had the first shot on goal of the evening and the first power play opportunity but after that every other first was registered by the Knights. At 8:31 of the first period St. Francis got on the board for the first time when Scott Loy took a puck that had bounced off the boards in front of the Perrysburg bench and skated into the Perrysburg defensive zone. His shot eluded the Perrysburg goalie and the Knight onslaught was on. Just under a minute later, St. Francis’ Chris Dyer scored the first of his three goals to put the Knights up 2-0.
“We had to come out and play with the lead,” said Knight coach Brian Kinsella. “They (Perrysburg) have some skilled hockey players. We were fearful of that team. We watched them play against Bowling Green. They have some guys that can put the puck in the net. If you give them the lead and give them an opportunity and a hope that they can win its going to be a long game.”
Down 2-0 it did not look good for a Perrysburg squad that was playing with a short bench. With only 12 available skaters, it was a necessity that the Jackets either score early in the second period or at least hold the Knights from further scoring. Perrysburg was unable to do either.
The St. Francis Knights had simply too much fire power for the under-manned Yellow Jackets. After two periods St. Francis had outshot Perrysburg 27-7 and the score was 5-0. The Knights’ Chris Dyer had added two additional goals and Brian Brookover one.
To the credit of the Perrysburg skaters, they never gave any sign of giving up. To the final horn they skated hard and played the game cleanly.
“There wasn't a person in the world that would have expected us to be playing in this game,” Perrysburg coach Jeff LaCourse said. “It's quite an accomplishment.”
When the final horn did sound at the end of the third period, the Knights had increased their goal count to 8 while, at the same time, preserving the shut-out for goalie, Mychael McAninch. Scoring the final four goals for the Knights were Jake Curtis, Mike Curtis, Nick Wawrzyniak and Brian Brookover.
The St. Francis win allows them to advance to the district final match-up with Northview next weekend.