The Dublin Jerome High School hockey team is coming off a season in which it went 28-7-1 overall, won its first Capital Hockey Conference title and advanced to a district final for the first time.

The Dublin Jerome High School hockey team is coming off a season in which it went 28-7-1 overall, won its first Capital Hockey Conference title and advanced to a district final for the first time.

Despite losing nine players from that squad to graduation, eighth-year coach Pat Murphy believes his team has the potential to match or top those accomplishments.

The Celtics open Friday, Nov. 25, against Burlington (Ontario) Robert Bateman in the Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin. Jerome opens league play against Dublin Scioto on Dec. 3 at Chiller Dublin.

"I like our senior leadership a lot this year," Murphy said. "Our seniors are quality people, and they're hungry to end their careers by doing something special. We graduated nine good players, but our team is still deep with four of our top six scorers and strong defensemen and goalies returning."

Seven high-scoring forwards are back to lead Jerome in seniors Matt Burke (17 goals, 13 assists last season), Joe Davison (16 goals, 13 assists) and John Henry Fischer (17 goals, 15 assists) and juniors Alex Cathis (18 goals, 17 assists), Jeff Davison (10 goals, 5 assists), James Eastep (36 goals, 14 assists) and Tommy Parizek (13 goals, 5 assists).

Also playing forward are senior Jake Burns, sophomores Lucas Brush, Jonathan Lelli and Chase Rose and freshmen Chris Cathis and Mitchell Coleman.

Senior Wes Faulkenberry, an Ohio State recruit in lacrosse, will be Jerome's No. 1 goaltender. Seniors Brennan Burris and Patrick Khan are Faulkenberry's backups.

On defense are seniors Connor Steiner, Brennan Stewart and Matt Walters, juniors Eric Brooks, Sam Franklin and Luke Potter and freshman Tom Pease.

Potter and Rose played for the Blue Jackets AAA team last season.

"We're going to have quality goaltending once again," Murphy said. "Our defense has four returning players, and we're real deep up front. There's less disparity in the skill level between our No. 1 forward and No. 13 forward than we've ever had before, so everyone will contribute for us."

Last season, the Celtics tied Olentangy Liberty atop the CHC standings with a 12-1 league mark and 24 points.

Rounding out the standings were Cincinnati Moeller (11-2, 22), Dublin Coffman (10-2-1, 21), St. Charles (7-4-2, 16), Upper Arlington (7-4-1-1, 16), Olentangy Orange (6-4-3, 15), Olentangy (7-6, 14), Thomas Worthington (5-7-1, 11), Gahanna (4-9,8), DeSales (3-9-0-1, 7), Worthington Kilbourne (2-11, 4), Scioto (1-12, 2) and Watterson (0-13, 0).

Jerome then went 1-1 in the Blue Jackets Cup, beating Olentangy 6-2 and losing to Coffman 2-1 in a semifinal. The Celtics had won the Blue Jackets Cup four of the previous five seasons.

In the district tournament, top-seeded Jerome beat Watterson 11-1, Cincinnati Sycamore 6-1 and fifth-seeded Moeller 1-0 in overtime before losing to second-seeded Liberty 3-2 in a final.