‘Cats outclaw Trojans

by Coach Elliott on December 12, 2007

By DAVE HANNEMAN

STAFF WRITER Findlay Courier

Sylvania Northview scored twice with a man advantage on Findlay High’s hockey team Friday night.

The Wildcats’ advantage in age, size and experience might have had something to do with the 3-1 victory as well.

“I’ve said before, one of our biggest assets will be youth,” said FHS coach Dan St.-Jean. “But something that youth needs is experience and that’s what we’re gaining here.”

Sylvania Northview, with 11 seniors on the roster, remained undefeated (6-0) and improved to 2-0 in the Northwest Hockey Conference. Findlay, with just four seniors in uniform and only one — defenseman Chris Atkins — in the starting lineup, fell to 0-2 in the league, 2-4 overall.

Despite a decided deficit in pounds, years and varsity letters, Findlay battled Northview on even terms for two full periods. A goal by junior Ryan Chance 3:48 into the second period had tied the game 1-1, freshman Max Poe was solid in goal and it appeared the two teams would head into the final period still deadlocked.

Northview got its second power-play goal with just 6.3 seconds left in the period, however, and Mark Hall, who had the assist on the Wildcats’ go-ahead goal, scored unassisted in the third period for a little insurance.

Northview Coach Jim Cooper liked what he saw from his seniors. He also said that despite all of the 12s under the year column on his roster, the Wildcats aren’t that much different from the Trojans.

“We have 11 seniors but we’re actually a little thin. Some of those seniors are kids who never made the varsity roster before,” Cooper said. “We’re still young when it comes to the Northwest Hockey Conference, so we’re hoping to coach them up in a hurry.”

With a 6-0 start, it seems something is working.

“It sure beats the alternative,” Cooper said.

Northview outshot Findlay 20-10. Poe finished with 17 saves, including one to snuff a 3-on-1 break and keep it a 1-1 game late in the second period.

With just seconds left in the period, however, Cy Otto was called for roughing and Northview took advantage.

Hall took the puck up the left side virtually unchallenged, then slid the puck into a crowd in front of the net. Tyler Cook knocked in the go-ahead score, and the Wildcats had the lead for good.

“Poe did a good job, but we can’t afford to give a team like Northview power play opportunities,” St.-Jean said.

Northview also capitalized on a man advantage situation to chalk up its first goal.

With a penalty pending, the Wildcats could afford to pull goalie Craig Trego with 6 minutes left in the first period. Before Findlay could touch the puck, which would have stopped play, Carter Bourland unleashed a shot from the left wing. Poe got a stick on the puck, but it still had enough spunk in it to dribble into the net.

The Trojans would eventually tie it with the aggressive hustle that underscored their overall play. Chance and Tyler Thines broke loose on a 2-on-1 break early in the second period. Thines, Findlay’s leading scorer on the season, slipped a nice pass to Chance past a sprawled defensive player and Chance beat Trego to his stick side. Spencer Lee had an assist on the play as well.

It was the type of play St.-Jean expects to see more of.

“We played hard, and right now that’s all I’m asking them to do, day-by-day and game-by-game,” St.-Jean said.

“We’re fresh, but we’re learning. The energy and the willingness to get better is there.

“I told the guys I’m expecting the same type of energy (tonight against Sylvania Southview). If we play with the same intensity and work on getting better, I think we can surprise some people down the road. I really believe that, and I’m trying to make sure they believe that, too.”

Contact staff writer Dave Hanneman at:

(419) 427-8408

davehanneman@thecourier.com

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