While playing professional hockey in North America and Europe for parts of 12 seasons, Darcy Cahill displayed his offensive skills, amassing 313 goals and 579 assists in 391 games.

While playing professional hockey in North America and Europe for parts of 12 seasons, Darcy Cahill displayed his offensive skills, amassing 313 goals and 579 assists in 391 games.

However, the former center is taking a much more defensive-minded approach in his first season as coach of the Dublin Coffman High School hockey team.

"I was an offensive player who wasn't always great at playing defense, but I understand the importance of playing good team defense and I'm a defense-first coach," said Cahill, whose team opened Nov. 23 with a 1-0 win over Cincinnati Moeller in a Capital Hockey Conference game. "I'm instilling within our team that we need to play well in our own end of the ice first, because if you play well defensively, everything else takes care of itself."

The Shamrocks, who finished 16-16 overall and placed fourth (20 points, 10-7) in the five-team CHC-Red Division behind champion Olentangy Liberty (32, 15-0-1-1) last season, have returned eight defensemen in seniors Caleb Powell and Nathan Rusin, juniors Tyler Burich, Jacob Richard and Thomas Tate and sophomores Mike Aman, Cameron Fiorita and Nick Kennedy.

Sophomore Grant Powell has returned as the starting goaltender and is being backed up by freshman Brian Hoover. Last season, Powell went 9-14 with a 3.00 goals-against average and an .892 save percentage.

"Our defensemen are all good and Thomas Tate is one of the best players in our league," Cahill said. "Grant Powell is a former AAA club player and I think he's going to give us real good goaltending, especially now that he has a year of high school hockey under his belt."

The Shamrocks have 12 forwards in seniors Nate Babner, Mark Heneman, Matt King, J.T. Latshaw and Jason Strine, juniors Logan Ackley, Hayden Austin and Trevor Rawdon and sophomores Ryon Malas, Alex Schepflin, Zach Shemancik and Kyle Talebi.

Coffman returned six of its top nine scorers from last season in Heneman (15 goals, 6 assists), King (8 goals, 19 assists), Tate (11 goals, 7 assists), Latshaw (3 goals, 11 assists), Strine (8 goals, 4 assists) and Hayden (5 goals, 6 assists).

King and Latshaw are the team captains and Heneman and Caleb Powell are the alternate captains.

"Our depth is good and we have a lot of good offensive players, too," Cahill said. "Our leadership from our four captains has been excellent and I've been impressed with the skill level of our team at all positions. You have to be a special player to crack our lineup."

Coffman is looking to make a stronger showing in both the Blue Jackets Cup and district tournament than it did last season. Last year, the Shamrocks lost to Olentangy Orange 3-1 in the opening round of the Blue Jackets Cup and, as the seventh seed, beat 15th-seeded Centerville 9-1 in the second round of the district tournament before losing to second-seeded Orange 3-2 in the third round.

"There are high expectations for this team based on our talent and experience, and if the kids listen and work hard, we should do well," Cahill said.