Thomas Worthington High School hockey coach Josh Sockrider isn't sure if his team will finish with its first winning record since 2002-03, but he does expect his players to put forth a good effort in every game.

Thomas Worthington High School hockey coach Josh Sockrider isn't sure if his team will finish with its first winning record since 2002-03, but he does expect his players to put forth a good effort in every game.

Based on what he has seen in the preseason, he doesn't foresee that being a problem.

"I'm pretty excited," said Sockrider, whose team opens Friday against San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra Catholic in the Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at the Chiller in Dublin. "The kids seem pretty focused about playing hard. I think they're committed to the plans, to the strategy. The goal pretty much for us is to play at our highest level and play the strategy we've designed and see where it takes us."

Thomas finished 9-20-2 overall last season and defeated Worthington Kilbourne 4-3 in overtime in a play-in game to the district tournament before losing to fifth-seeded Oxford Talawanda 6-2 in the first round.

The Cardinals went 6-6-0-1 with 13 points in the Capital Hockey Conference to place seventh behind Dublin Coffman (11-2, 22), St. Charles (10-2-1, 21), Dublin Jerome (10-3, 20), Olentangy Liberty (8-5, 16), Gahanna (7-5-0-1, 15) and Upper Arlington (7-6, 14) and ahead of Kilbourne (4-9, 8), DeSales (1-10-1-1, 4) and Dublin Scioto (0-13, 0).

Olentangy and Olentangy Orange have joined the CHC.

Thomas lost its top two scorers to graduation in forwards Erich Rottenbiller and Frank Proctor. Rottenbiller led the team in goals (30), assists (32) and points (62) and was named first-team all-league. Proctor was second in goals (29), assists (24) and points (53) and made second-team all-league.

"It was a concern in the offseason," Sockrider said of losing Rottenbiller and Proctor. "But from what I've seen in our scrimmages, I'm not overly concerned. Maybe we won't have as much scoring, but we have some scorers. It will probably be more of a team effort than one or two players. We'll spread the wealth."

Also lost were the top four defensemen in Paul Karolyi, Travis Mathis, Jackson Proctor and Brian Rosensteel. Proctor was third on the team in assists (12) and fourth in points (14) and was honorable mention all-league. Mathis also was honorable mention all-league.

"Defense is probably one of the concerns because we have a lot of new guys there," Sockrider said.

Thomas returns 10 letterwinners in seniors Ben Boudreau (forward), Jacob Brown (forward), Matt Molde (goalie) and Trevor Young (forward), juniors Reed Hickman (defenseman), Nick Katona (forward), Tyler Pike (defenseman) and Zach Schaeffer (forward) and sophomores Jimmy Danko (defenseman) and Shane Hartlaub (forward).

Young, who played on the top forward line last season with Rottenbiller and Frank Proctor, was third on the team in points (17) and goals (7) and fifth in assists (10) and was honorable mention all-league. Hickman was fourth on the team in assists (11) and fifth in points (13).

Molde had a 7-15-2 record with a 3.84 goals-against average and an .885 save percentage and made honorable mention all-league.

"If the defense gets better in front of him, (Molde) will keep us in games and allow us to win games," Sockrider said.

Also on the team are juniors Tyler Graham (forward), Grayson Livingston (forward) and Hans Smith (forward), sophomore Hilton Dellinger (goalie) and freshmen Patrick Boudreau (defenseman), Harrison Cohan (forward), Kyle Gratz (defenseman) and Graham Nadler (forward).

"It's a younger team than we had last year," Sockrider said. "Some of the younger kids are getting used to the speed of the game, but I think we probably have a little more depth than we had last year."

Thomas will play both Toledo Central Catholic and the Northeast Storm club team Saturday at the Chiller in Dublin in the Midwest Thanksgiving Classic. The Cardinals open league play against Orange Dec. 19 at Chiller North.

At a glance

•Coach: Josh Sockrider, second season

•Opener: Friday vs. San Juan Capistrano (Calif.) JSerra Catholic in Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller in Dublin

•Key players: Jacob Brown, Shane Hartlaub, Reed Hickman, Matt Molde, Tyler Pike and Trevor Young