The Olentangy Orange High School hockey team reached its second district final in three seasons, as the second-seeded Pioneers defeated third-seeded Dublin Jerome 4-2 in a semifinal Feb. 23 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
The Pioneers improved to 27-4-3-2 and play top-seeded St. Charles at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Ice Haus for a spot in a state semifinal. The Cardinals are 33-3-2.
"We just keep playing hard and skating hard," coach Tim Pennington said. "That's not so much a skill as a mentality. If you work hard and skate hard, good things happen."
The district champion advances to a state semifinal March 7 at Nationwide Arena against Toledo St. John's or Sylvania Southview.
St. Charles and Orange finished 1-2 in the district poll. The Cardinals defeated Orange 3-2 in overtime in a Blue Jackets Cup semifinal Feb. 7 at Chiller Dublin, and they went on to win their first Blue Jackets Cup title by defeating Jerome 2-1 on Feb. 9 at the Ice Haus.
The Pioneers beat the Cardinals 1-0 on Dec. 21 in Capital Hockey Conference play.
In the semifinal win over Jerome, Luke Buchy, Dino Capoccia, Karsten Green-Church and Jarrett Shafer all scored and Cameron Beck had 19 saves.
Orange defeated Dublin Coffman 5-2 on Feb. 22 in the third round at the Ice Haus. Buchy scored two goals, Cole Essig, Green-Church and Ryan Welsh all scored once and Beck had 16 saves.
Patriots eliminated by UA in third round
Fifth-seeded Liberty finished 16-13-7, losing to fourth-seeded Upper Arlington 5-1 on Feb. 22 in the third round of the district tournament at the Ice Haus.
Chris Bergamesca scored off assists from Kyle Gratz and Josh Schoettmer, and Cam Perry had 30 saves.