Most of what you will find here is nothing new from me, with the exception of my Wildcats, Trojans prediction.
Lets start down in the South West, the Columbus district. The Dublin Coffman Rocks will be playing the Centerville Elks on March 6th at 5pm at Nation Wide arena. Here we have the MyHockey ranked 16th in the state Dublin Rocks team and the #23 Centerville Elks team. This year there is no information on these two meeting, but in looking at who they both played and those outcomes on the screen the Rocks are a soild bet to win this game. Dont get me, wrong the Elks have been getting stronger every year and are consistantly one of the strongest down in the SW. I however have to pick the Rocks on this one and I will say that even with emotions running high we are looking at 4-2, 5-2 victory for the Rocks.
Over in the South East, Kent District we have Hunting Valley University School and The Gilmour Academy Lancers.. We are looking at very strong, consistently strong University School team, and defending state champions. This abundance of strength is well reflected in their #2 MyHockey State Ranking. U. School came out this year stumbling, loosing their first 4 games, then pounding Walsh 7-0, only to come back and be shutout by Padua 3-0 in their next outing. That is not sounding great for U. School, but this team developed, and since loosing the ST. Francis Knights on January 16th have not lost a single game, putting them 15-0 coming in to the March 5th 730pm regional Final. Their opponent the Lancers are ranked 7th in the state, who I picked originally to loose to Walsh, and I had Walsh winning the district. Well, Walsh is clearly out. I picked Walsh knowing it would be tough row to hoe for them to beat Gilmor, but if they had I was sure they would beat U. School. Well for Gilmour, I am going to go with the defending state champs U School. Its not going to be an easy ride by any means the Lancers are play to hard, and seem to be peaking right now, where as U. School peaked long ago and may well be on the ride down.
I am picking U. School over the Lancers in an OT Win 4-3
Up in the North East we have #3 St. Ingantius and #8 Padua facing off on March 6th at 6pm. From the start of the season until the first week of January Padua was beating every team they played, loosing only to: a hot Lake Catholic team, and Meadville, earning ties with Sylvania Northview and Meadville twice, and Ignatius. Since that ride and prior to the playoffs it was a mix of losses and ties. All of which were between what looks like at a glance the top 10 teams in the state, so a rough second half for Padua. In the playoffs, Padua has won with a commanding style of team that has peaked for the playoffs, with lowest margin of victory being 4 goals. St. Ignatius heads in as #3 in the state. Having played Padua twice this season, once early ending in a 2-2 tie, and the second time being a commanding 3-0 shut out win. Ignatius has played well all season long being one of the only teams to beat the St. Francis Knights and doing so authoritatively 5-2. It takes no stretch of the imagination to pick Ignatius in this one, or to even boast a rout in the process. I am saying I don't see it that way. Just as the Findlay Trojans toppled the Knights, Padua will scrap out a victory in this hotly contested battle. 3-2 Padua wins.
In the North West we have the #5 Sylvania Northview Wildcats and the #10 Findlay Trojans.
The Findlay Trojans are ridding high beating what others call the odds, I call it a quality win. You see the way I called it the Knights came out this season amazing. they had it all, a fast tempo of play, high power offensive weapons, a mobile quick defense and solid goalie. This team was and will be remembered as one of the best in NW Ohio; however, they did not improve as the other teams do. The Trojans nearly dealt them a loss early. The Knights then shut them out latter in the season. The Trojans went on to improve and peak in the playoffs and came out won a huge game over Knights, in OT, and while the score was lower than I predicted, I called it right an OT win for the Trojans. For the Wildcats its been a season of mostly highs and few lows. Beating big teams and loosing to lesser teams like when they were shut out against the Bobcats, after having beaten a strong Gimour club.
Upon entering the playoffs the Wildcats have been riding high. Playing what is perceived as the most challenging rout to regional finals, having played Bowling Green and St. Johns, now having to play a hot Findlay team. Northview like Findlay is playing in top form right now. While the Wildcats have beated the Trojans twice this season this is a very different Trojan team than from those two meetings.
Add in to this what happened to the Wildcats playing the Trojans last year in the playoffs, getting a big lead early then giving up numerous late goals nearly loosing the contest. That will only happen again if the Wildcats look past the Trojans. I dont see how any sensible player will do that, no lead is big enough, and heaven forbid you must play from behind in this one. The Northview memories of those mistakes are far to recent and Northview is playing their best hockey as well right now. In the end only one team can win to advance. I have a feeling the Wildcats finish on top of the Trojans by a score of 4-2, and make their first appearance in the final four, since 2006.