Rob Sangster just wanted to take a deep breath.
Rob Sangster just wanted to take a deep breath.
The co-coach of the Olentangy High School hockey team needed to relax after his team notched a second final-minute victory in as many days of the district tournament. This time, Kyle Hickman scored with 49.9 seconds remaining for a 2-1 win over eighth-seeded Upper Arlington in the second round on Feb. 20 at the Dispatch Ice Haus.
Olentangy advanced to play Olentangy Liberty in a third-round game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Ice Haus.
"That was fun to watch, especially after (the first-round win)," said Sangster, who is co-coach with Masin Habash. "All games are tough when the district tournament begins."
The Braves, who are 21-14, rallied from a three-goal deficit to beat Beavercreek 7-6 on Feb. 19 at Chiller Dublin. Josh Stein scored the winner with 6.2 seconds remaining.
"(The Braves) have good skill players and because they are in our school district, it will make for a formidable battle," said Liberty coach Jack Hoogeveen, whose team is 24-8-1. "They can score some goals and they will test us on the defensive end of the ice."
The Patriots were the second seed and had a first-round bye. They defeated Troy 5-0 in the second round, but the game was scoreless after two periods. Christopher Bergamesca, Ethan Hollingsworth, Kyle Horner, Michael Oja and Alex Vidrick all scored.
The game was delayed midway through the second period when junior forward Reed Slinger suffered a neck injury. He was transported to a hospital and had movement in his extremities. His status for the Olentangy game is uncertain.
"He could have a concussion and that could keep him out, but right now I doubt if he'll play," Hoogeveen said after the Troy game. "That (injury) really sparked our kids and got us going. We were a little flat to start the game. We won't be able to do that against Olentangy."
On Dec. 31 in the Capital Hockey Conference meeting, Liberty won 12-2. Jimmy Ruska scored four times and both Hollingsworth and Oja had two goals. Noah Allmaras, Drew Ash, Horner and Nick Ramsey had one goal apiece. Brian Finneran had 25 saves.
Hickman and Connor Laughlin scored for the Braves.
"We changed around our defensive system and it's really helped us a lot. That's why we won (the UA) game," Sangster said. "We knew we could score, but if we were going to go anywhere in the district, we had to play better defense and we have been doing that."
The winner advances to a district semifinal against third-seeded Dublin Coffman or seventh-seeded St. Charles at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Ice Haus. The district final is 5 p.m. March 5 at the Ice Haus.
Liberty beat Coffman 3-2 on Dec. 5 during league play and 3-2 in the final of the Blue Jackets Cup on Feb. 13. St. Charles split with Liberty, winning 4-2 on Dec. 11 in the Adam Allgeyer Memorial and losing 8-3 on Feb. 6 in league play.
Olentangy went 2-1 against St. Charles. The Braves won 8-7 on Dec. 5 in the Wolves Invitational and 4-3 in the Blue Jackets Cup on Feb. 11. The Cardinals won 10-1 on Jan. 28 in CHC play.
The Braves lost to Coffman 11-1 on Dec. 10 in the Adam Allgeyer Memorial and 7-4 in CHC play on Jan. 21.
• Orange finished 13-13-3 overall with a 2-1 loss to St. Charles in the second round of the district tournament on Feb. 20 at the Ice Haus. Junior forward Dar Faroughi scored and senior goaltender Alex Victor had 26 saves.
"I told the guys that you need to have a good effort when you get to the district level and we got that against St. Charles," said coach Tim Pennington, who completed his third season leading the program. "We had good effort and it gave us the opportunity to win."
In the opening round of district on Feb. 19, Orange beat Thomas Worthington 5-2 at Chiller Dublin. Scoring goals were senior forward Scott Bowers, Faroughi, senior forward Robbie Lindeman, senior forward Matthew Pennington and senior defenseman Alex Titus. Victor had 10 saves.
Junior forward Jake Shepherd led Orange with 17 goals and 19 assists, followed by Lindeman (13, 10) and junior forward Nick Murley (11, 8).
In the CHC, Orange went 6-4-3 (15 points) to finish seventh of 14 teams. Dublin Jerome and Liberty tied for the title at 12-1 (24 points), with Cincinnati Moeller third at 11-2 (22) and Coffman fourth at 10-2-1 (21). St. Charles (7-4-2) and UA (7-4-1-1) tied for fifth with 16 points, followed by Orange, Olentangy (7-6, 14), Thomas (5-7-1, 11), Gahanna (4-9, 8), DeSales (3-9-0-1, 7), Worthington Kilbourne (2-11, 4), Dublin Scioto (1-12, 2) and Watterson (0-13, 0).
Orange loses seven seniors in Bowers (3, 8), forward Jimmy Lomeo (3, 4), Lindeman, defenseman Adam McHugh (5, 10), Matthew Pennington (7, 16), Titus (4, 11) and Victor.
"Our seniors were all there when we started the program three years ago," coach Pennington said. "They brought a lot of enthusiasm and were the cornerstone of the program. Everything that comes in the future is because of their hard work."
Expected to return are juniors Nathan Fischer (forward), Jacob Green (defenseman) and Taylor Hardy (forward; 5 goals, 4 assists) as well as sophomores Chris Pennington (forward) and Jacob Potts (defenseman; 7, 9). Chase Green was a freshman goaltender and Dino Capoccia (2, 7) was a freshman forward.
"The juniors will be our first four-year players next year," said coach Pennington, whose j.v. team won its version of the Blue Jackets Cup with a 3-2 overtime victory over Moeller. "They will have a lot of varsity experience and should be good leaders for us."