What a week for Fort Wayne high school hockey. Thrilling games on both Wednesday and Saturday were a terrific way to close out the 2022-23 league season and proved yet again that there are very few things better than playoff high school hockey! Congratulations to the Leo Lions, our preseason #4, on winning their first Memorial Cup since 2014. Good luck to all four of our area teams in the State Tournament starting next weekend with three of our four teams competing right here in the Summit City!
Leo 3, Carroll 1
Any notion of Andrew Baumert’s demise had been greatly exaggerated. The Junior goaltender was the star of the show as Leo knocked off Roy Chin Cup Champions and previously undefeated Carroll in a stunner to claim the 2023 Memorial Cup Championship. Leo was ready to go right from the jump and their tone-setting line of Aaron Amick, JJ Scott, and Weston Roth immediately put the Chargers on the back foot. Austin Amick nearly scored less than 20 seconds into the game but his wrister from the point missed by inches, clanging off the iron. Carroll started to settle in as the next few minutes wore on and then were presented with a golden opportunity to score when Jackson Rieth mishandled the puck at the point which gave Dylan Braun open ice in front of him to get up to speed for a potential breakaway until Dylan Davis tripped him before he could break free, a necessary penalty for the Leo forward to prevent the scoring chance. Davis went to the penalty box but his teammates took care of business and killed off the penalty. It didn’t come without a little bit of trouble though. Finn Cupp nearly scored for the Chargers on a rebound from Dylan Carteaux’s point shot but Baumert made his first terrific save of the day and got the whistle just in the nick of time.
The posts continued to be unkind to Leo in the first period. Colin Robison ringed a shot off the post as well. Robison had stopped up along the left wall waiting for some offensive help. Carroll afforded Robison some time and he fired a sneaky wrister at the goal with about six minutes still to play in the first. A flurry of chances ensued for Leo on the next shift before Carroll was able to work it back down the ice for some shots of their own, but Leo was soon able to work the puck back the other way. Off a faceoff win in their defensive zone Colten Calhoun snatched up a puck and made a quick pass to the wall for Robison who then to the opposite wing for Davis. Davis one-timed the pass up to Calhoun streaking through the middle of the ice. Calhoun caught the Chargers’ defensemen flat-footed and blew past them for a breakaway chance. The puck was rolling on its side but the Freshman forward was able to settle it down enough to execute a few backhand-forehand moves and slide it past the left pad of Carson Carteaux at 11:59 of the period.
Leo got their first power play attempt of the game at the end of the first period when Brody Burge was booked for elbowing with 19 seconds left, then just six seconds later Corbin Klenke took a cross-checking penalty giving the Lions a long 5-on-3 power play. They didn’t need all that time because on the ensuing draw, Calhoun tied up Carter Gnau allowing Davis to get to the puck unopposed since there was no winger alongside him. Davis made one stick handle and flipped the puck over the right shoulder of Carteaux at 14:49 of the first period. Despite trailing, it was Carroll that carried shots on goal in the first period with 11 in their favor and seven against. Carroll was able to kill off Klenke’s penalty once the second period began and had a decent start to the new frame. That got even better when Braun cut to the Leo net and drew a penalty from Rieth to get another try on the man advantage. Carroll won the faceoff and the puck came up towards the point on the stick of Braun. Braun shook off his defender and was able to find a wide-open Sam Krauhs in the left circle and Krauhs lasered a shot past Baumert to cut the Leo lead back to one at 3:01.
The top-seed continued building steam early in the second period and another power play came their way about a minute and a half later but it was cut short by a roughing penalty on Braun. The 4-on-4 brought about a great chance for Carroll to tie the game but Baumert shut the chance down to preserve the lead. Burge fed a pass to the center lane for Cupp who was just barely able to get his stick free from Tyson Finefrock in time to catch the pass. Cupp had an unopposed shot from the hash marks but Baumert had the glove up and made the save, one of his most important in the game. Carteaux made some critical stops of his own at the other end. Roth gathered up the puck behind the Carroll net and centered it out front where it sat for a second before getting swept to Scott in the slot. Falling to his knees, Scott was able to direct the puck towards the goal but it appeared to be blocked by Amick who had a chance to put it on goal as well but fanned, allowing Carteaux to cover for a whistle with 2:44 remaining in the second.
Early in the third Carroll was back on the attack. Ninety seconds in Gnau intercepted a pass in the Leo end and took a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that Baumert blocked aside. The rebound came bouncing off the ice and Cupp didn’t get enough of it on the second try then Braun was stymied on the third look as Riley Murphy was able to deflect the puck out to the point where it was settled down after Krauhs sent it back to the corner. Carroll continued the pressure and had another great look on a smooth passing sequence of Cupp getting the puck down to Gnau for a Carroll 2-on-1 below the dots. Gnau made a no-look backhand pass behind him to Braun cutting across the net front but Leo was still able to hang on.
A penalty to the Chargers at 6:16 of the period allowed Leo to get their footing in the third with a power play. The penalty went to Adlee Scheerer when he grabbed and threw Murphy’s stick after Murphy had lifted Scheerer’s stick out of his hands. However, it was Carroll with the first scoring chance of the Leo power play. Gnau was leading the PK forecheck and did a good job killing enough time for Braun to join the play. He had found wide-open ice in the slot as four Leo players were focused on Gnau but the pass got deflected leaving Braun in a tough spot with little room to work with and Baumert stuck with him to make the stop. Leo would settle back into the power play and with right around 57 seconds remaining in the man advantage the Lions had an offensive zone faceoff on the left side. Roth tied up Cam Drexler on the faceoff and Scott got the loose puck. He moved it to the point for Finefrock who one-timed the shot towards the net. The initial shot was stopped by Carteaux but found the stick of Amick who buried it to give Leo the critical two-goal cushion with 7:33 to play.
Carroll though was undeterred and kept coming back to try and bring the game closer. A power play came their way with 4:24 to go after Scott was sent off for interference and Carroll took their timeout to get everyone on the same page. The Lions were able to kill off the penalty but Carroll had a couple of chances, their best one coming as Cupp tried feeding a pass to the back door for Gnau but Roth and Baumert combined to keep it out. Time was expiring and with every tick of the clock hope was fading for the Chargers but Burge busting into the attacking end and drawing a hooking penalty gave them another shot of life. That penalty was given to Calhoun but after further review, it looked like the penalty should’ve been on Murphy and that confusion led to a slight delay before getting to the faceoff. Carroll pulled Carteaux to make it a 6-on-4 situation after winning his team didn’t lose the faceoff cleanly. Burge was able to pick the puck out of the ensuing scrum and passed it to Dylan Carteaux who took a couple of steps in and wired a shot that found iron but not twine. Carroll caught another break when Robison ran Cupp into the padding protecting the edge of the Leo bench which sent Robison to the box for roughing. Now armed with a 6-on-3 advantage and 45 seconds to work with the high-powered Carroll offense wasn’t quite out of it.
The Chargers couldn’t quite get going with the needed urgency for the first 30 seconds but unleashed a flurry of shots in the final 15. It started with a centering feed from behind the net to Carteaux that Baumert got his stick on at point-blank range. Cupp got the rebound on the left hash mark and fed the puck over to Braun in the right circle who had to stop the pass with his skate and get it to his stick but ultimately sent his shot wide. The puck rimmed around to the left wall where Carteaux picked it up and skated around the top of the circle before feeding a pass to Krauhs whose one-timer was blocked by Finefrock. Carteaux got the puck again off that block and fired a backhander wide to the right with three seconds to go and that was all she wrote as the Lions came flying off the bench to celebrate their first Memorial Cup in nine years. When the final stats were tallied Baumert had racked up 29 saves on 30 shots, capping off an incredible four days of playoff hockey in which he totaled 61 saves on 62 shots.
The last few seasons our crew at Summit City Sports has given out end-of-season awards to complement what the league does with the All-City Teams. That includes awarding a Hart Trophy (MVP), Norris Trophy (Top Defenseman), Vezina Trophy (Top Goaltender), and a Calder Trophy (Rookie of the Year). We also create our own All-City Team and I’ll share my list down below along with the official lists from the league. I’ll also preface this by saying these are regular season awards.
Hart Trophy: Dylan Braun (Carroll; 23-14-37 pts.)
Our back-to-back SCS MVP. After taking the league by storm last year the follow-up performance was even better despite early season questions of a Sophomore slump by some pundits (ex. Brandon Porter). Despite missing four games Braun won the scoring title by seven points and had nine more goals than second place with a total of 23 which is without a doubt the record for the 15-game season. With those numbers it’s impossible to not give Braun MVP despite missing four games.
Norris Trophy: Davis Cline (Carroll; 0-9-9 pts.)
This was a weird year for defense as so many of the top defenseman played significant time at forward making it tough to give them the award. Michael Scully was in the running for this one as was Aaron Amick but with the risk of being hammered with Carroll bias comments we’ll go with Cline here. Again it’s a tough call here and there wasn’t a clear number one like there has been in the past. That said Cline was a key part of the Carroll defense, leading that group in points. He had the most points of any full-time defenseman this season and no other full-time blueliner even cracked the scoring leaders page in the weekly program.
Vezina Trophy: Carson Carteaux (Carroll; 1.76/.912)
This is why the regular season part was boldened, italicized, and underlined. Yes, Baumert was terrific this past week, but that’s just this past week. Carteaux was stellar this year for Carroll. Obviously, his workload was easier than every other goalie in the league but you still have to stop the shots that come your way and he did that. In the middle of the season, he was especially good and posted three shutouts between Weeks Four and Seven. Carteaux was the only number one goaltender in the league with a save percentage over .900 and was .001 from being the only goaltender in the league with that period. The Senior netminder accounted for 13 of Carroll’s 15 wins and no other goaltender had more than 4. Carteaux’s GAA was also more than one goal better than the next best. Carteaux also saw a good number of shots all things considered. Carteaux made 238 saves this year, for context Ben Marques made 265 for the Vipers in 14 games which is one more than Carteaux’s 13 games played.
Calder Trophy: Colten Calhoun (Leo; 5-7-12 pts.)
Calhoun came up as someone to watch during Media Night and he lived up to the billing with a great rookie season. He didn’t light up the scoresheet but he did pick up a pair of multi-goal games against the Vipers and made his goals count. He also put up seven assists, the third-highest mark outside of Carroll’s big four at the top of the list. He and fellow Freshman Colin Robison were the clear top two rookies offensively this year and should lead the way for Leo in the coming seasons as the team has officially come out of their rebuilding phase. Honorable mention here as well to Connor Gould who would be right there with Robison for second place on this award.
SCS All-City Team:
F: Dylan Braun (CAR), Dylan Davis (Leo), and Gavin Elkins (HOM)
Braun’s place here has already been explained above but the two other additions weren’t on the official First Team All-City and Davis was snubbed entirely. Davis was the engine on offense for the second-place Lions and won the Non-Carroll Division scoring title with 13 goals and 3 assists. First Team and Second Team is usually a debate I’m willing to have but to snub Davis entirely is a bit silly to me. If someone wants to argue he’s just a goal scorer that’s fine but someone has to put the puck in the net, I don’t think someone should be punished for that. And further down that vein, let’s refer back to last season. Leo was a totally different team when he joined in the second half so that has to be at least taken into some sort of consideration that he had a massive impact on the team. Of course everyone has their opinions and this just happens to be mine, the coaches think differently and that’s ok but I’m happy to give some recognition here to a critical player for Leo. On Elkins, similar story. I think he was the bus driver and tone-setter for Homestead. He was always engaged physically, maybe too much sometimes, but that sort of energy boosted that team and is how they were starting to have success late in the season. Elkins finished with nine goals and six assists for a total of 15 points, tied with Darcy Koch for second place in the Non-Carroll Division. Elkins at least made second team so I’ll rest my case on that one.
D: Davis Cline (CAR) and Michael Scully (FWV)
See above for Cline. So Scully didn’t take the Norris but we’ll give him credit for playing D almost the whole year and put him here, he certainly belongs. Scully’s offensive ability were key to the Vipers moving the play up ice and we saw multiple times this year some flashy plays from Scully going all the way down the ice and scoring. His five goals were the most among defenseman this season (Dylan Carteaux could claim this but at least seven of his goals were scored as a forward) and he tied with Cline for the position lead in points. Scully finished fourth on the Vipers in points and third on the team in goals.
G: Carson Carteaux (CAR)
Official All-City Teams:
F: Dylan Braun (CAR), Brody Burge (CAR), Aiden Byler (HOM)
D: Henry Loxton (HOM), Michael Scully (FWV)
G: Carson Carteaux (CAR)
F: Gavin Elkins (HOM), Carter Gnau (CAR), Darcy Koch (FWV)
D: Christian Brown (FWV), Davis Cline (CAR)
G: Andrew Baumert (LEO)