Ice Hockey

Newark defends Blue Jackets Cup title

The Newark club hockey team won the Blue Jackets Cup for the second consecutive season and for the third time in five seasons.

The Generals defeated Hilliard in the final for the second consecutive year.

Newark went 3-0 in the double-elimination tournament, beating Hilliard 2-0 in the championship game Feb. 24 at Chiller North behind goals by forwards Levi Beckholt and Ben Dennis and 28 saves by goaltender Austin Pitcock.

Newark defeated the Wildcats 4-3 in the final last season. The Generals also won the title in 2009.

Hilliard went 2-2 in the Blue Jackets Cup after winning the Greater Columbus High School Club Hockey League regular-season championship. The Wildcats went 15-3-2 and earned 32 points in league play to finish ahead of Newark (14-2-4, 32), Westerville (12-7-1, 25), Northeast (7-10-3, 17), PRPC (7-13, 14) and Athens (0-20, 0).

The Wildcats won the tiebreaker with Newark by having one more win than the Generals.

On Feb. 21 in the opening round of the Blue Jackets Cup, PRPC defeated Northeast 4-1 and Westerville beat Athens 12-2. Hilliard defeated PRPC 3-2 and Newark beat Westerville 2-1 in the second round Feb. 22.

On Feb. 23, Westerville defeated Northeast 3-1 to eliminate the Storm and PRPC ousted Athens and Westerville, beating the Bobcats 6-5 and the Warcats 5-4. Also that day, Newark sent Hilliard to the losers bracket with a 4-1 victory.

Hilliard then eliminated PRPC with a 5-2 win Feb. 24 before losing to Newark in the final.

The top four teams in the final GCHSCHL standings — Hilliard, Newark, Westerville and Northeast — qualified for the club state tournament, the Buckeye Cup, which will be held March 8-10 in Cincinnati.

—Scott Hennen