St. Edward Ice Hockey Secures Cleveland Cup in Instant Classic

St. Edward Ice Hockey Secures Cleveland Cup in Instant Classic

St. Edward. Gilmour.  What more can you say?  This matchup is and has been one of the best ice hockey rivalries in Ohio.  Both are Holy Cross schools with prestigious and historic hockey programs.  

The setup to a Saturday showdown: on Friday night, the Eagles defeated Walsh Jesuit to advance to the championship game, while the Lancers secured championship berth in an overtime thriller against University School.  

On Saturday night inside OBM arena, the St. Edward Eagles and Gilmour Lancers battled through 3 hard fought periods, plus an overtime and shootout.  The game started out very frantic for the Eagles, with St. Edward goalkeeper Evan Wrightsman making a few huge saves.  These saves were the ultimate precedent for Wrightsman’s lights out performance between the pipes.  After 2 minutes into the first period, Lucas Newton scored for the Eagles.  Despite this early lead, the Eagles conceded a goal at 6:50.  The St. Edward defense, led by senior captain Tyler Fowles, finished the first period off by killing a 5 on 3 power play.  Fowles later went on to say, “We had some highs and some lows, which is expected, but we came out and played hard.” 

Indeed, the game included highs and lows, but the Eagles adapted to these, just as Fowles described.  At 9:24 in the second period, A.J. Szopo redirected a hard shot from Hayden Payne, which led to a St. Edward goal, giving them a 1-0 lead.  Eagle head coach Tim Sullivan stated: “We got a little better in the second period, we dominated the second period.”  Much of this could be attributed to senior goalkeeper Evan Wrightsman, who had a spectacular night, recording 28 saves during regulation.  

However, in the third period, the Lancers did not go out without a fight.  With just under 40 seconds to play, the Lancers scored after pulling their goalie to have an advantage.  What looked like a GLHL Championship for the Eagles turned into an overtime nailbiter, putting fans at the edge of their seats.  Although the Eagles received a powerplay in the overtime period, they were not able to capitalize.  Gilmour barely had any chances in overtime, and thus the game was sent into a shootout.  

Round 1 of the shootout began in favor of the Eagles as Wrightsman made a huge save and senior Sean Kolenich scored on the first shot.  The tide turned slightly when the Lancers scored on their shot and the Eagles missed theirs.  In round 3, Evan Wrightsman stood tall and patient in the goal, forcing the Gilmour player to hesitate and miss hit the puck.  After another missed penalty shot by the Eagles, Wrightsman made yet another patient save to give the Eagles an advantage.  Then, senior Jack O’Sullivan sealed the deal for the Eagles and scored his penalty shot.  

Wrightsman finished the entire game with 32 saves, 28 happening in regulation, 1 happening in overtime and 3 occurring in the shootout.  Senior captain Tyler Fowles described Wrightsman’s performance as “awesome… he was ready for that.”  Ready he was, as Wrightsman proudly was one of the first to hold the Cleveland Cup for the St. Edward Eagles.

When asked about what this win meant for the seniors, Coach Sullivan proclaimed the night as a “feeling of accomplishment.”  He reflected on the tournament, saying “it’s a hard cup to win, and for [the seniors] to do that, it’s great.”  

A Holy Cross rivalry, a GLHL rivalry, an instant classic– an instant classic that will be remembered by the seniors and underclassman Eagles for years to come.  In the meantime, the Eagles will prepare for the OHSAA State Tournament, in which they look to earn the program’s 12th state championship and enshrine themselves in the rich hockey tradition that has been established at St. Edward for years past and years to come.