A tight game was expected after these two squads regular season games. The first going handily to the Bobcats in a shutout win, on the Wildcats home ice. The second game played on Bobcat home ice tilted to the Wildcats. The quarter final game was a very different story. The Wildcats came out and just took command of this contest. They played a very good defensive game, as they have all year, and in years past in the defensive zone. What was pleasing to witness with the defense seems to be that they have gelled. They have gelled to the point where they are aggressively and confidently holding the puck in the offensive zone. Its just a simple fact that sustained offense gets pucks in the net. In instances this year (especially evident in losses) the Wildcat defenders could be seen at near center ice when the opposition fought for the puck down in the corners and up on the half boards. The defensive pairings, skills, communication and confidence were all visible, as they should be for a top 5 ranked team. Offensively things have clearly landed into very productive lines. In this contest the goals were well distributed among the lines. The Wildcat checking line really played a key roll in the team success, just cleanly pounding the Bobcats while giving the other lines some additional air, and generating some of their own quality chances in the offensive zone. It is good to see the team makeing hits on the opposition that leave no room for question as to weather they are clean or infractions, hands, elbows and sticks all down and the puck right there.
Looking at the Bowling Green Bobcats we again see a very well coached team, that plays a very disciplined game. These Bobcats are a young team who are developing their offensive weapons this season. Where as their defense is stronger and they enjoy the benefits of an outstanding starting goal tender. Lets talk about Nate Gay who earned first team red division honors, for his outstanding play. Nate is an exceptional positional goalie who plays well out on the top of his crease, with a confidence not seen many young starters. Couple this with his size, ability to smother the puck and when he must give up rebounds he does so directing them to the safety zones, all make him a force of one to be reckoned with, and making the opposition earn every goal. Screening this sizable young man is no easy task as he is one of the tallest players on the ice. When screened if he is unable to track the puck low, he extends using his size to see over the interwoven players before him. It is going to be a pleasure watching this young man develop, who I swear had Vaughn build his Velocity pads out of Tempurpedic foam and Velcro. Again once BG has developed their offense in front of this net-minder, look out.
While concerned about Bowling Green hockey has been a topic of many conversations, that range from the hurting university program to dwindling youth hockey numbers. Some clarity about the future is certain. The BGSU hockey team is not folding. The BGSU ice arena is getting the much needed massive renovations to make her better than new. The University program while they struggled this season, have a young team, and exceptional talent that kept them in every game this season. They were very well coached and I hope to see Coach Williams and his staff retained, for their work this year and for the outstanding recruits they are bringing to the program. The youth program should rebound and follow suit with successful Falcon and the Bobcats. The success of the B.G.H.S Bobcats should remain consistent in the process. News of other H.S teams apparently moving their home ice to BGSU arena is starting to come out, but nothing official has yet been announced, and when that is made public and official I will comment.
Questions that have arisen from having watched years of Ohio Hockey. One, why are we not using the safe goal pegs designed for this level of play? Why are we reduced to two officials for the playoffs when a 2 officials 1 linesman system is used for league play? Where are the goal judges? Between last-years St. Johns - Northview goal(S) and clock messes, one would assume it would have been fixed by now. Why is the State still insistent upon giving each individual district Champion a guaranteed spot in the final 4, when they should be assuring the best four teams in the state are playing for the state championship. One easy fix to that is still inclusive to developing districts is to give a district conference Champion home ice, then send via random draw the number 2,3 and 4 teams each to separate districts to establish 4, 4 team pools each composed of one team from each district. The winners of these tournaments would then advance to the States final 4 and the Champion then would advance to the High School Nationals. A system such as this provides a fair and equal chance to all districts, yet guarantees the best four teams in the state contest for the State Champion honors. Too that end why do not yet have established two levels of varsity hockey each with their own championship since it is clear there are two levels in the state. Such a division would be wonderful and allow each conference to play each team or nearly each team from around the state in their stated level, what ever those level be so named, prior to playing their conference schedules. All of these ideas and more will be forthcoming over then next several weeks as our season draws to an end.
The Wildcats knocked the Bobcats out of the playoffs with a final score of 5-2, and have advanced to play the St. Johns Titans in tonight's semi-final match up, which should be hotly contested.
Watch the Wildcats game video by following the link bellow. Its a large file and on slower connections some load time is needed. Enjoy.