Breaking down the match up of tonight's N.W Ohio district semi-final.
Coming in to this 7pm match up the St. John's Titans are your home team and are ranked 3rd in the division and 9th in the Ohio with a record of 19-13-3, and are coming off a play off a lack luster win over Maumee.
The Wildcats come in to tonight's game as the away team and ranked 2nd in the division and 5th in the state with a record of 19-8-4, and are coming a dominating win over a Red Division rival BG. The Wildcats have the toughest overall path to the final four of any N.W. Ohio team. The Wildcats should they make the final four will have played each Red Division heavy in the single elimination playoffs. For some teams that kind of challenge is too much, for others it forces them to peak and play their best. Based on the game I witnessed against the Bobcats, this well coached Jones team is peaking. Must be hard for the staff to choose a net-minder with both playing at the levels they are right now. The defense is holding the offensive zone, and being stingy and strong in the defensive zone. The offense is clicking unlike anything we have seen all season, strong fore-checking, passing and shooting like we have all hoped. Stars have emerged, but not as individuals as one might think, but as units as a team. All the blocks look to be in place for what will likely be an impressive run.
In their two meetings this season the Titans have given up 9 goals and scored on the Wildcats 4 times (2 per game). The Cats won both games, in this rivalry. When it came to determining the playoff brackets records alone do not determine seeding process, as one would think (getting what you earn, seems to hold little weight with the N.W. Ohio Hockey association). Those lovely polls come in to play, and not "impartial" polls, if there is such a thing. The coaches vote. So even though the Wildcats finished in a solid second place, beating St. Johns twice, having been ranked on their whole season on www.myhockey.com (the leader in ranking hockey clubs around the world) higher, and finishing 4 places higher than the Titans, and being the only Red division team to hand the power house St. Francis Knights one of only 3 losses. The Wildcats land as our 3rd seed? It matters not in the end as 3rd seed is left with the Choice of sides in the playoffs. Me, personally, I pick the stronger opponent, I make a statement "here we are coming after you", I would have picked the Knights, but I am not driving that ship. So being consistent I again point a long boney finger at the N.W Ohio Hockey Association and say "fix your house, not for the fans, but the boy and girls who play the game and give 100%, and deserve no less from their association."
Tonight I would like to say I see the Wildcats take this game in 3, with a final score of 4-1, or a stretching 6-2. This is what I would like to say. But this is high school hockey, where anything can and does happen. Add in the taste of the deep rooted rivalry that lives between these two teams, I say were in for a nail bitter. One that goes the distance 4-3 as the final.