April 20, 2014

Elyria
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High school hockey notes: Area teams holding own in division play

Even though the hockey season has been going on for a month, only a handful of games have been played in the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League.

Amherst finds itself just two points behind the top spot of the White West Division standings with a 3-0 record. Brecksville leads the way at 4-0 after beating Elyria Catholic 7-3 on Saturday.

Amherst and Brecksville will lock horns on Friday at 8 p.m. in Brooklyn for the early lead in the division.

The loss to the Bees dropped the Panthers to 2-3 in the division, tied for third with North Olmsted and Westlake.

Three Panthers are among the White Division’s top seven scorers. Jeremy Ng is fifth with nine points (3 goals/6 assists), while Steve Donat (4G/4A) and Colin Lester (1G/7A) are tied for seventh with eight points.

Amherst’s Kevin Kuhn is the leading local goalie in the White Division. He sits fourth with a .846 save percentage.

The three local teams in the lower Blue West Division find themselves looking up at North Canton Hoover (6-1).

Midview (5-2) sits one game back after handing the Vikings their first loss of the season, 8-5, on Sunday, a win that avenged a 7-3 loss to Hoover earlier this season.

The Middies have rattled off four straight wins in league play to stay ahead of third place Parma (4-4).

Avon and Avon Lake have found the sledding a little tough in the Blue West. The Eagles dropped three straight division games before posting a 4-2 win against Olmsted Falls on Friday.

Avon is 3-5 record in the Blue West, while the Shoremen are 1-3 in league play after falling 6-3 to Parma Senior on Sunday.

The Middies’ Austin Steindl leads the Blue West with 12 goals and nine assists. Teammate Brock Behler is fourth with 14 points on eight goals and six assists. Avon’s Eric Novakovic is third with 14 goals and one assist.

Between the pipes, Avon Lake’s freshman netminder, Keegan Sullivan, is second in save percentage in division games, just .001 ahead of Midview’s Jared Meredith — a .826 save percentage to .825.

Missing in action

Avon could be without junior defenseman Braeden Friss for most, if not all, of the regular season after suffering a broken wrist in the Eagles’ holiday tournament round-robin game against Lakewood.

Holiday tournament wrap-up

All five Lorain County teams were tied up in holiday tournaments the past couple weeks, with mixed success.

Elyria Catholic went 2-2 in the Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy tournament held in Kent. One of the highlights for the Panthers was first-year goaltender Luke Farmer stopping 67-of-86 shots (78 percent) during the tournament. Farmer is one of three freshman goaltenders in the county who are learning on the job this year.

Midview and Avon Lake played in the Solon Holiday Tournament, but in different divisions. The Middies went 1-2, losing to Mayfield (5-4) and Orange (9-3), before beating the Shoremen 10-4 in the consolation game.

Midview’s KC Kudela has turned into “Slash” for coach Rick Verlotti’s team.

Normally a center, Kudela has been asked to play multiple positions for the short-handed Middies, including a lot of defense.

“It really is nice to have a player that is so versatile,” Verlotti said.

The Shoremen lost all three games they played at the Solon tournament, but were able to salvage a win in the Kent Holiday Tournament the week before Christmas, beating Normandy, 9-3, before dropping games to Kent Roosevelt and Mayfield.

Amherst found its way to the championship game of the Parma Holiday Tournament, but fell 9-1 to Holy Name after tying the Green Wave 5-5 the night before to earn a spot in the title game.

Avon was the closest to grabbing holiday hardware, facing Lakewood in the title game of the Eagles Holiday Tournament held in North Olmsted. After beating the Rangers 4-2 in pool play, Avon dropped a heart-breaking 3-2 overtime decision to Lakewood (10-2-1).

Avon’s Eric Novakovic scored with 18 seconds left in regulation to propel the Eagles into the extra session. It was Novakovic’s 35th goal of the season.

“You don’t want to be in that situation, but if you have to pull your goalie, you just hope someone can make a play for you,” said Eagles head coach Nick Novakovic of the game-tying goal. “Eric really made a great play there to cut the corner and put the puck in the upper righthand corner.”

Player of the week

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Colin Lester, Elyria Catholic

  • YEAR: Senior
  • POSITION: Defenseman
  • LAST WEEK: Scored nine goals and assisted on nine others in five games, including a regular-season game against North Olmsted and the CVCA Christmas Tournament at Kent.
  • OTHER INTERESTS: Football, lifting, Call of Duty
  • FAVORITE NHL PLAYER: Scott Stevens for his big hits.
  • FUTURE PLANS: Attend Kent State University to study Chemistry.
  • PARENTS: Frank and Suzanne

Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or jbrady_ct@yahoo.com.