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Cleveland suburb has been good for Falcon hockey

The city of Parma is generally known for being Cleveland’s largest suburb.

In recent years, however, the area has become a hockey hotbed, producing several talented college and professional players.

Brian Holzinger, the last Falcon to win the Hobey Baker Award, grew up in the area and has led the way for a stream of players in the NCAA and NHL today.

‘I know Brian pretty well and he was one of the reasons I ended up coming to BG,’ Jake Cepis said, the current Falcon forward who also hails from Parma.

Cepis currently ranks second on the team in points with 10 goals and 10 assists in 23 games.

But the Falcons aren’t the only team with a Parma player who brings a scoring presence to this weekend’s two-game set in Columbus.

Tommy Goebel, Nick Biondo and Tom Fritsche, all of Ohio State, call Parma home during the offseason. Goebel, a senior, leads the Buckeyes in scoring this year after transferring from Michigan State following his sophomore year.

‘Things weren’t working out for me at Michigan State,’ Goebel said. ‘I always wanted to play for an Ohio school and represent Ohio that way.’

Goebel represented his club well last weekend, earning Central Collegiate Hockey Association honors as the week’s best forward. He put up four goals and an assist during a split at Lake Superior.

‘I think it’s really good for Ohio hockey,’ BG coach Scott Paluch said. ‘Seeing that many Ohio players, especially the ones produced from that concentrated area of Cleveland, playing at Ohio Division I schools is a good sign and a big positive for Ohio hockey.’

Biondo, a junior defenseman, and Fritsche, a senior forward, ended up rooming together for the 2007-08 season. The two have posted a combined 21 points this year on an OSU team in dire need of scorers.

While all four Parma natives remain close these days, it will be the first time Jake Cepis has skated against the three OSU players. Biondo went to high school with the Falcon forward, while Goebel often skates with Cepis in the summer.

‘I grew up with those guys,’ Cepis said. ‘Dan Fristche [Tom’s older brother now with the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets] actually lives two blocks from my house. I was with those guys my whole life.’

However, any type of sentimentality will probably be absent when the Falcons and Buckeyes step onto the ice Friday and Saturday.

‘All of us want to win and it’s going to be really competitive,’ Cepis said. ‘Bragging rights, you know?’

Tom Goebel seemed to agree with that statement, finishing off his Parma connection tale with a slight jab at the Falcon youngster.

‘Tell Cepis not to be too scared of me.’

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