Just like the majority of his peers, Dublin Jerome High School hockey coach Pat Murphy is always searching for ways for his team to improve.

Just like the majority of his peers, Dublin Jerome High School hockey coach Pat Murphy is always searching for ways for his team to improve.

But after the top-seeded Celtics routed sixth-seeded Dublin Coffman 4-0 in a district semifinal Feb. 26 at the OhioHealth Ice Haus, Murphy acknowledged that his squad had turned in one of its best all-around efforts of the season.

Jerome improved to 29-9-1 and Coffman finished 16-16-1.

The Celtics will face fourth-seeded Olentangy Orange in a district final at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at the Ice Haus, with the winner advancing to a state semifinal March 10 at Nationwide Arena.

The state final is March 11 at Nationwide Arena.

"Coffman's a good team that's been playing its best hockey of the season in the tournament, but I thought our guys played a complete game," Murphy said. "We played great team defense and, when you don't give up any goals, you're going to win most of the time. The guys on our blue line were terrific, and our goaltender made all the saves. We got pucks in deep, and we buried our chances. If we continue playing the way we did (against Coffman), I think we have a fair shot to win our first district championship."

The Shamrocks outshot Jerome 10-7 in the first period but trailed 2-0 as Jeff Davison and Alex Cathis each scored.

James Eastep and Jonathan Lelli each scored in the second period, as the Celtics outshot Coffman 28-10 over the final two periods.

"When Coffman beat Upper Arlington 8-1 in the second round (Feb. 25 at the Ice Haus), it was an eye-opener, and we knew we had to play great team defense because they have a lot of offensive talent," forward Joe Davison said. "We came out and put two quick ones on them right away and we never let up, because we knew they weren't going to quit playing hard."

Wes Faulkenberry had 20 saves to earn the shutout, and Kyle Burich had 30 saves for the Shamrocks.

"Coffman's good at scoring on fast breaks, but our defensive zone coverage and the backcheck of our forwards was very good," Faulkenberry said. "I was in the zone, but I never thought about getting a shutout, because when a goalie thinks about shutouts, that's when you let one in."

The Celtics are making their second district final appearance after losing to Olentangy Liberty 3-2 a year ago.

Jerome lost to Orange 5-2 on Nov. 26 but beat the Pioneers 5-2 on Dec. 9 and 4-1 on Dec. 17.

Orange upset second-seeded Liberty 2-0 in a district semifinal on Feb. 25 to improve to 33-8.

Key players for the Pioneers include forwards Dar Faroughi, Nate Fischer, Taylor Hardy, Nick Murley, Christopher Pennington and Jake Shepherd, defenders Jacob Green and Mitch Knapp and goaltender Clayton Horvath.

Hardy and Murley scored against Liberty and Horvath had 20 saves.

"Orange is a much-improved team that beat some tough teams to get this far," Murphy said. "But this time of year, it's not who we play but how we play, and we need to keep playing as well as we have been playing. Our focus is on playing good defense, first and foremost. We've done a good job recently of not giving up many odd-man rushes, because our defensemen aren't pinching when they shouldn't and our forwards are coming back to help out. We need to keep that up."

In a win over Springboro in the second round Feb. 25 at the Ice Haus, Joe Davison had three goals and one assist, Chase Rose had one goal and two assists, Tommy Parizek had a goal and an assist, Matt Burke and Eastep each had a goal and Coleman Mitchell and Sam Franklin each had two assists.

"We're still going to play four (forward) lines to try and wear teams down," Joe Davison said. "We're closely knit together and we feed off each other's energy. It doesn't matter who scores as long as we win."

One day after Coffman upset third-seeded UA, coach Eric Park was disappointed in the Shamrocks' final performance of the season.

"This was a tough way to end because we didn't bring our A game," he said. "We definitely peaked in the tournament by beating an Upper Arlington team that beat us three times during the regular season.

"But after the excitement of that win, we needed to get back to work, and we just didn't get any breaks against Jerome. We should have saved a few of those goals we had against UA for this game, but we're a young team and we're still learning and growing. We'll be much more consistent next year."