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City Championship Preview

February 29, 2008, 10:07 AM ET [ Comments]
Paul McCann
Nashville Predators Blogger •Predators Radio Network • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Nashville Cup will be awarded tonight in a David vs. Goliath matchup... appropriate analogy as the defending state champion Pope John Paul II Knights take on the underdog Father Ryan Irish. The Knight's come into the game as the second seed in the tournament with a 19-1-1 record... their only loss to Independence, the tie coming in the last regular season game with Ravenwood. Father Ryan sports a 15-6-2 record, the five seed in the tournament, fresh off upsetting the one seed in a shootout. Both teams have qualified for the Predators Cup state championship tournament... the top Nashville seed for that tournament is on the line tonight.

The Father Ryan/Pope John Paul II rivalry has grown quickly and is becoming almost as important as the Father Ryan/MBA one. It doesn't matter what sport it is and tonight, the rivalry is renewed. Pope John Paul II has dominated Father Ryan in hockey since they went varsity two years ago. This year's regular season matchup went to the Knight's as they posted a 7-0 shutout. I expect a huge crowd at Southern Ice tonight for the 8:10pm faceoff.

Pope John Paul II has owned GNASH over the past two seasons. They are led by senior Daniel Adams, their leading scorer averaging almost 3 points per game played (24g, 9a). They have a high powered offense that has poured in an average of 7 goals a game in the regular season and a stingy defense that has only surrendered 21 goals in the entire season, including playoffs. In net is senior Taylor Holmes, author of 7 shutouts this year (including two in the playoffs.) He is big, athletic and fundamentally sound with a GAA of 0.80 and a 94% save percentage. This is a deep, experienced team with plenty of talent, including captain Ryan Sterrett (16g, 18a), sparkplug Anthony Golio (11g, 20a) and big blueliner Lucas Svedin (5g, 5a, 20 Pims). The team is coached by Bjorn Svedin, a crafty coach who tends to get the most from his talent.

Father Ryan's story is one of determination and team play. While the Irish does not possess the same depth of talent, they do have some weapons in their arsenal in a trio of juniors, sniper Tyler Saracino (16g,17a) leads the Irish in scoring, versitile center/d-man Miller Williams' (17g,14a) hard-nosed game adds grit to the attack and smooth skating captain Matt McCann (19g,9a) is the leading goal scorer on the team from his blueline position. This is a young team with five freshmen and only two seniors, nowhere is that more evident than in net. Freshman goaltender Alex Otts has shown maturity in his game between the pipes, exhibited by his perfect record (13 attempts, 0 goals) in two pressure packed shootouts over the last two playoff games. First year Irish coach Walt Wasyliw has done an outstanding job getting the team to this game.

This Nashville Cup game should be a good one... the question is, can David bring down Goliath? We'll find out tonight. The puck drops at 8:10pm, the game is at Southern Ice Arena in Franklin.


On a side note... it is obvious to see what media covers scholastic sports best... that is WKRN channel 2. They came out and covered the semi-final last Wednesday night, featured highlights on their 10 o'clock newscast, and I wouldn't be surprised to see them at the rink tonight. Not only did they come out to cover the game... they sent sports anchor Cory Curtis. Wow! I've rarely seen the other sports anchors at a Preds game, let alone a high school game.

Way to go channel 2... you guys are getting it...

OK hockey fans... it's time to step up and support the media that gets it... Channel 2 is doing the right thing and covering hockey well... we need to make sure we support them... let 'em know they are moving in the right direction! You can email the news department at [email protected]
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