A blowout victory can build a team's confidence, but it also can bring about selfish play that leads to problems down the road.
The Thomas Worthington High School hockey team hopes that won't be the case after it defeated Dublin Scioto 10-0 on Dec. 15 at Chiller North.
Junior forward Tommy Pischel scored three times and senior forward Will Byars had two goals. Sophomore forward Dominic Caminiti, freshman forward Christopher Kocheran, junior forward Riley Maloney, senior defenseman Brett McCarthy and freshman forward Nathan Viebranz all had one goal.
"A game like (the win over Scioto) is tough because you always worry about guys trying to pad stats," said Pischel, who leads the team with 17 goals and 12 assists. "When you play to pad stats, you can pick up bad habits. We can't get away from staying disciplined."
The Cardinals improved to 7-3 overall by defeating Watterson 6-2 on Dec. 16.
"We're playing well, even though we're short on numbers," said senior defenseman Nicholas Highley, who has four goals and 11 assists. "As long as we can stay strong on the ice and play hard with the puck, we'll do OK. We have to play as a team and our confidence is going up as well."
Byars has 12 goals and 11 assists, and senior forward Sam Bachmann has three goals and eight assists. McCarthy has four goals and five assists, and junior forward Kevin Hill and Maloney both have three goals and two assists.
"We have been very unselfish," coach Steve Otto said. "We don't have just one kid taking the puck to the net.
"We have put in a system and they are starting to pick it up. We're seeing results from hard work in practice. It's fun to see."
Highley said the team seems to be headed in the right direction.
"We're progressing as a team," he said. "As a senior and along with the other upperclassmen, we have to know where people are going to be. We have to read each other's minds and know where everyone is on the ice."
The Cardinals are scoring 5.1 goals per game and surrendering 2.4. Both goaltenders have started five games, with senior Sean Lima surrendering 1.2 goals per game with a .943 save percentage and senior Jonathan Highley giving up 3.4 with an .838 save percentage.
"At the beginning of the year, we had trouble getting the puck out of the defensive zone," Pischel said. "We were turning the puck over in the zone, but that's not happening as much now."
Wolves continue to make strides
Kilbourne is 3-7 overall, but the Wolves gave defending district champion Olentangy Orange all it could handle Dec. 14.
After a scoreless first period, sophomore forward Mike Roman gave Kilbourne the lead with 12 minutes, 30 seconds left in the second.
Orange followed with three goals before sophomore forward Ryan Agner cut the deficit to 3-2 with 2:09 left in the second.
The Pioneers added a goal late in the third for a 4-2 win.
"This was a big game," senior center Austin Taylor said. "We were pumped up because we lost pretty badly to (Cincinnati) Moeller (10-3 on Dec. 8) and we wanted to show that we were better than that."
Senior center Patrick Roman said the Wolves tried to control the puck against the Pioneers. He believes the effort will help the team as it continues Capital Hockey Conference play.
"We attacked the puck really hard and tried to keep (the Pioneers) from shooting," he said. "The players can see we can be as good as we just played. The guys see that we have the ability to beat these teams."
Coach Paul Roman was happy with the effort against a high-caliber team.
"I'm so thrilled with the way we played. We played well and we only had two penalties, which is important with the size of our roster," he said. "Orange went to the state's final four last year, and we played right with them."
The Wolves have three CHC games remaining in the 2012 portion of the schedule. They play DeSales on Saturday, Dec. 22, at Chiller Easton, Olentangy on Dec. 28 at Chiller Dublin and Thomas on Dec. 29 at Chiller North.
"In the next few weeks, we need to find the lines that work together," Taylor said. "It's important to have good chemistry on the ice."