No, I am refraining from further comment on the calls of last evenings St. Johns Sylvania match up. Clearly there is no need for me to lay waste on the individual(s) responsible when that topic is the most predominate in nearly any conversation about last evenings game. How sad is that, that everyone sees it, yet nothing is done?
Ok lets on track here. We have another district semi-final game tomorrow night. A game that was postponed due to the weather. Lets get in to this match up.
Coming in the game the Findlay Trojans are 20-10-1 and Ranked 10th in the state, and 4th in the red division with a 4-5-0 record. This season the Trojans out of the top 5 red division team have allowed the most goals this season at 38. The Trojans have however scored the second highest number of goals in league play at 39. The Trojans have been right their in every game they played, and what best sums it up is they either win by a few or loose by one. They can skate, and score with any team in the state. That 10th ranking is not some partisan poll, its the numbers, in black and white based on wins and losses and goals. With even an average for the Trojans offensive showing and just a slight up tick in the defense Findlay wins this game.
A look at the Knights. In a word wow. This is in my eye a very near to complete team, the most competitive team, and Ill say it likely to be remembered as one of the best team to ever play in N.W Ohio. Ever. Better even than those teams from the time of Bobcat domination. Pounding the Cleveland are giants of recent to earn an uncontested number one in the state ranking with a dominating 31-3-2 record, a number one Red division record of 9-1 that loss being a shoot out OT loss to Sylvania Northview. The Knights have the lowest goal against in the Red division at 16 and most goals for at 42. The Knights have dominated this year, out performing even the lofty expectations of some fans. They control the tempo of nearly every game they have played. Hold the offensive zone with strength and finesse and just cause other teams to break down. On the power play, and I dont have the stats on this but they scored on nearly every one I saw this year.
The break down and prediction.
The two meetings between these two team were a 5-4 win for the Knights in a closely contested match early in the season, when no one could really even handle this Knights team at all, it was impressive. The last meeting was again a Knights win, a shut out win to boot, 3-0. Findlay had chances but goalie Jeff Davis shut them down.
I believe we are going to see a closely contested match up much like the first meeting between these two teams. Offensively for a Findlay victory we need to see Findlay get the puck deep, hold the zone far better than the last meeting, shooting often, even low percentage long shots. No offense to goalie Davis, but he gives up lots of rebounds and has poor rebound control allowing those rebound to land in prim goal scoring locations, and the Trojans are great at crashing in to score on those rebounds. Jeff is no Nate Gray, no one in the league smothers a puck like I have seen that youngman. Findlay can not allow themselves to get discouraged with any one goal that may go in, its going to happen, they can not shut out this team. Additionally the Trojans player need get bodies in front of the shots that are headed for their net.For the Knights again its shooting, shooting, shooting and more shooting. The knights have 5 of the top goal scorers in the league and picking apart (no offense) the second highest scored upon goalie in the league should be easy work. But in the same breath this St. Francis team, the best ever in the district, seemingly has not improved at all this season, which is odd, the gap has closed, the chinks in the once believed impenetrable Armour are exposed. I believe this a near even match, and thats what we expect in a semi-final game.
I say this likely will be, just as with the St. Johns and Sylvania match up, its going to be a nail bitter, where the fans better be prepared to see a 3 goal lead fall to a tie game and then a two goal lead fall again to a tie. My prediction, a 6-5 Findlay Trojan victory. Anything can and does happen in these district finals, its why we play the games, poll free.