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Physical style suits Savan fine

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JOSHUA A. BICKEL/THISWEEKSPORTS
Upper Arlington's Brent Savan controls the puck during a game against Gahanna on Dec. 14 at Chiller Easton. Savan, a senior forward, is among the Golden Bears' top goal scorers this season.
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Brent Savan of the Upper Arlington High School hockey team hopes to have a career in science after college, saying he likes "hands-on activities."

That's been obvious from his play on the ice this season.

The senior forward has been everywhere the Golden Bears need him. He had nine goals through 15 games and has become one of the team's most physical players.

"I have to lay a body on (opposing players)," Savan said. "We have a couple kids who take that role on, but other than that (my role is) scoring goals, making assists and making plays.

"I play defense on the power play. I play center sometimes when our centers need a break. I can play winger. They put me all over the ice. I can do it all."

That wasn't necessarily the plan this season for Savan, who started playing hockey at age 3 in his hometown of Brecksville and began playing for the Bears his sophomore year after his family moved to Upper Arlington. But his offense has come to the forefront, as he had two goals in a 3-2 win over Gahanna on Nov. 30, a 6-4 win over Worthington Kilbourne on Dec. 15 and a 10-0 win over Dublin Scioto on Dec. 23 and was tied with senior forward Jack Whitman for second on the team in goals through 15 games behind freshman forward Danny Logan (13).

"Brent is just a real high-energy guy. As Brent goes, the team goes," coach Jay Graham said. "He gets the pace going and he definitely plays the body, and he has a tendency to find the net. He is a utility guy in lots of areas.

"He wants to be engaged in the play. He wants to be around the puck. He tracks it very well. He understands he needs to get in (on the puck carrier) and, if he plays a body on this guy, the second man will be able to come in and play the puck and do damage from there. He's selfless in that way as well."

Savan had nine goals and eight assists in 38 games last season. His goal total ranked sixth on the team behind 2012 graduates Patrick Goth (20), Matt Beebe (18), Max Collins (17) and Brian Helscel (15) and Whitman (11).

"I expected big things from him. He had a big year last year and he's just building off of that," Whitman said. "He's been crucial to us."

Savan plans to play hockey in college, but probably at the club level. He already has applied to the University of Colorado, which has a club team. If he doesn't attend Colorado, he said he likely will attend a local college.

"I just want to keep playing somewhere," he said.

UA was 11-6 overall after concluding play in the Findlay Trojan Invitational on Dec. 28 and 4-3 in the Capital Hockey Conference-Red Division after defeating Olentangy 8-0 on Dec. 29. The contest against the Braves began a stretch of seven consecutive league games.

The Bears get another shot at league powerhouse Olentangy Liberty on Jan. 13 at Chiller North. The Patriots won the first matchup this season, 3-1 on Dec. 7.

"We're pretty pleased with the wins we've had," Graham said. "We're getting better each week in practice."

Boys swimmers hope schedule pays off

The boys swimming and diving team lost 162-152 at Toledo St. Francis on Dec. 22, wrapping up a December schedule that included championships in the Solon Relays on Dec. 1 and the Ned Reeb Invitational on Dec. 8 at Ohio State and a third-place finish in the Big Eight Invitational on Dec. 14 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.

"We try and swim everyone in the state that we can," said coach Mike de Bear, noting his team was not able to schedule defending Division I state champion Cincinnati St. Xavier in a dual but did compete against the Bombers in the Big Eight Invitational and Canton Christmas Invitational on Dec. 15 at Branin Natatorium.

"It's about getting racing in, especially for our higher-end kids who need the experience with racing other fast kids. When it matters, when the bright lights are on, it's old habit. It's not going to be a surprise."

St. Xavier won the Big Eight Invitational with 430 points, as UA scored 315. Team scores were not kept in the Canton Christmas Invitational.

The Bears return to competition Friday, Jan. 4, with a home tri-meet against St. Charles and Watterson. St. Charles was runner-up to UA in the Ned Reeb Invitational and placed second behind the Bears in the district meet last season.

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