The state Frozen Four will have its semifinals Sunday at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. This weekend will mark the 31st annual state ice hockey tournament. The state championship will be at 5 p.m. Monday. Lakewood St. Edward (27-11-3) plays Toledo St. Francis De Sales (18-13-3) at 6:30 p.m., followed by Cincinnati St. Xavier (16-12-5) vs. Gates Mills Gilmour Academy (22-17-1) at 8:30 p.m.
The state Frozen Four will have its semifinals Saturday afternoon at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
This weekend will mark the 31st annual state ice hockey tournament. The state championship will be at 5 p.m. Monday.
Lakewood St. Edward (27-11-3) plays Toledo St. Francis De Sales (18-13-3) at 6:30 p.m., followed by Cincinnati St. Xavier (16-12-5) vs. Gates Mills Gilmour Academy (22-17-1) at 8:30 p.m.
For St. Ed's, it's the first Frozen Four appearance since 2005 when it won the state title. The Eagles, which have 17 state tournament appearances, have won 10 state titles in hockey.
“We have been so spoiled over the last 20-plus years that we consider a successful hockey season (as) one that ends in a trip to the Frozen Four,” St. Ed's coach Rob Whidden said. “It is a great opportunity for our players to experience the tradition and atmosphere of the state Frozen Four.”
Whidden said the Eagles played St. Francis earlier in the year (St. Ed's won 5-1) and expects St. Francis will be a much-improved squad than from late 2007.
Goaltender Robby Ginsburg, senior defenseman Alex Novack, senior forward Vinny Buttitta, junior forward Tim Colvin and sophomore forward Ross Kivett have been playing well lately for the Eagles, according to Whidden.
“We need to be very physical but yet still stay out of the penalty box more than they will,” Whidden said.
St. Francis, which is making its sixth state appearance, went 2-3 against the Frozen Four teams during the regular season.
Senior forward Chris Dyer had two goals to lead St. Francis in a 3-1 district final win against Sylvania Northview, according to the Toledo Blade.
“We would not be here without (Chris Dyer),” St. Francis coach Brian Kinsella told the Blade. “Our team would play good, but we wouldn't be as confident without him. With him in the lineup, we're almost a goal up already.”
For St. Xavier, it's the first Frozen Four appearance. St. Xavier defeated Cincinnati Sycamore 5-0 in the district final.
“We play a physical game,” St. X coach Adam Tramonte told the Community Press this week. “We've got some big kids that can also play hockey.”
Tramonte told the newspaper the Bombers are also healthy heading into this weekend.
“We expect St. Xavier to come out in a manner befitting a semifinal game,” Gilmour coach John Malloy said. “They upset some teams on the way and so they should have a lot of confidence.”
Malloy, who is leading Gilmour to its first state tournament appearance, said turnovers and goaltending will be keys to the game.
“Since neither team nor players have been here before I think (the team) that can handle their emotions in the first period will also be important,” Malloy said.
Gilmour sophomore goaltender Austin Severson (186 saves) has been strong recently and four defensemen – juniors Noah Hirshman and Logan Boehm and sophomores Alex Moss and Zach Buehner have been handling the front of the net much better, according to Malloy.
Malloy said he will look for seniors Brett Anton, Allen Glasmire, Dan Gagne and John Hanna to play physical.
Sophomore Bill Davis has a team-leading 30 goals, and junior Andrew Phillips has 26 goals and 17 assists.
“I like the way (we) play as a team,” Malloy said. “They are committed to running our system(s) and (they) try their hardest to play as the coaching staff asks of them.”