Victories were difficult to come by for the Upper Arlington High School hockey team, but coach Jay Graham expects the young and relatively inexperienced Golden Bears to be improved next year.

Victories were difficult to come by for the Upper Arlington High School hockey team, but coach Jay Graham expects the young and relatively inexperienced Golden Bears to be improved next year.

They lost to eighth-seeded Cincinnati St. Xavier 3-2 in the first round of the district tournament last Friday to finish 6-30-1 overall, marking the program's most losses. The victory total was the lowest since going 6-15-1 in 1998-99.

UA went 6-9-1 in the Capital Hockey Conference and finish eighth (14 points) behind Dublin Coffman (31), Olentangy Liberty (30), Dublin Jerome (27), Olentangy (20), Worthington Kilbourne (17), Gahanna (16) and St. Charles (15) and ahead of DeSales (12), Thomas Worthington (10), Olentangy Orange (5) and Scioto (1).

"I thought we grew a lot over the course of the season," Graham said. "With what we have coming in and what we have coming back, I think we'll be a force to be reckoned with the next couple years. We really feel the prospects for our team are good. I'm excited about the potential for next year."

UA will lose two seniors in forward Reid Greiner and backup goalie Austin Swanson. Greiner led the team with 16 goals.

Expected to return are juniors James Baugh (forward), Ethan Burton (forward), Drew Cook (goalie), Andrew Daehn (forward), Carlin Guthrie (forward), Clay Hall (defenseman), Austin Oberlin (defenseman) and Trevor Setterlin (forward), sophomores Matt Lewis (forward), Neil McKenzie (forward), Jack Sansbury (forward) and David Whalen (defenseman) and freshmen Matt Beebe (forward), Max Collins (forward), Spence Luallen (defenseman), Sam Stephensen (forward), Mitch Tulley (defenseman) and Evan Westfall (defenseman).

"We're only losing two players, so we're going to have pretty much the same team next year," Cook said. "I think that will help us because we've all played together and everyone will be better, hopefully."

UA scored 71 goals in 37 games, an average of only 1.9 per game, and was shut out 12 times.

Greiner and Baugh, who finished with 13 goals, were the only players to reach double figures in goals. Only five other players -- Burton (8), Sansbury (6), Lewis (5), Collins (4) and Daehn (4) -- scored more than three goals.

"We put forth a good effort (against St. Xavier)," Graham said. "It was the same thing that plagued us all season -- we struggled to find the net. We're still trying to find consistent goal scoring. That doomed us the entire season."

Even though UA had few experienced players and participated in challenging tournaments in Toledo, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, Cook believes that the Bears underachieved. He pointed to a 4-2 win over Toledo St. John's in a scrimmage Nov. 14 as evidence.

"We're young, but we could've done better," Cook said. "I think a lot of us realize that. We lost by only two goals to St. John's, so there's no reason why we're losing bad to the Columbus teams. I think a lot of it was mental. We have a lot of young players, and I think they took the losses a lot harder. But they matured a lot, which will help us next year."

At a glance

•Record: 6-30-1 overall, 6-9-1 (eighth) in CHC

•Seniors lost: Reid Greiner and Austin Swanson

•Key returnees: James Baugh, Ethan Burton, Drew Cook, Andrew Daehn, Clay Hall, Austin Oberlin, Jack Sansbury and David Whalen