BROOKLYN — The puck will drop on the 39th annual Baron Cup tournament hosted by the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League on Monday with three of the five Lorain County hockey teams looking to bring home a championship from the Brooklyn Recreation Center.
The Baron Cup was good to local teams last year, as Avon Lake defeated Normandy to capture the Baron Cup III championship and Amherst beat Olmsted Falls to win the Baron Cup II title.
There won’t be a double winner this year, as the Shoremen moved up to the White Division, putting Amherst, Avon Lake and Midview together in the Baron Cup II tournament starting Monday at 6:30 p.m.
In a change from years past, the coaches of the league voted for the top eight seeds instead of just four teams from each division.
To no one’s surprise, the Comets earned the top seed with their sparkling 25-2 record and 14-game winning streak. Amherst will open the tournament Monday at 6:30 against Orange (10-14).
The Comets played the Lions early in the season, posting a 7-0 win in mid-November.
“I would prefer to go by the standings, I’m not a big fan of the vote,” Amherst coach Steve Morris said of the new seeding system. “I don’t think there is any difference from inside the locker (as defending champions) other than we have a lot more experience with this being our third year back.”
When it came to the second seed, the coaches went with Midview (9-5) over a Kent Roosevelt team that enters the tournament at 20-8. The decision may have come down to the Middies’ 4-2 win over the Roughriders in November.
The Middies will hit the ice Tuesday at 6:30 when they take on seventh-seeded Canfield (9-8-2). The teams last saw each other on opening day with the Middies grabbing a 4-1 win on the road.
The team with the toughest road is fifth-seeded Avon Lake (14-11-3), which won the Baron Cup III championship while in the Blue Division. The Shoremen have to face Southwestern Conference foe Olmsted Falls about 20 minutes after the completion of the Amherst game.
Avon Lake beat the Bulldogs 4-3 in overtime right before Christmas but was manhandled last week, losing 12-7 to Olmsted Falls after giving up six first-period goals.
“Winning the Baron Cup III championship last season was a great success and will be remembered in the Avon Lake hockey history book, but this year is full of change with the biggest being moving up a division,” Avon Lake first-year coach Steve Burns said. “We are going into the Baron Cup focused on finishing strong and we know that the competition is really strong as almost all the games have been tight games with a lot of OT.
“Olmsted Falls is a challenge for any team and over the past couple seasons we have had some good games. The division has been close all season so we knew whoever we ended up with in the first round would be tough. Since we just played each other this past weekend it will likely add even more to the playoff excitement.”