Worthington Kilbourne High School hockey coach Paul Roman continues to see improvement from his team.
The Wolves won the Red Division title in the Thomas Worthington MLK Tournament on Jan. 20 at Chiller North, defeating Mentor 4-3 in overtime in the championship game to improve to 14-10 overall.
"The kids are skating hard and getting used to the system we have implemented," Roman said. "We have been playing it by the numbers.
"When the puck isn't in the zone, you get it into the zone. And we have been dominating the time of possession and we haven't been letting teams get in the offensive zone."
Kilbourne, which has won five consecutive games and seven of its last nine, already has matched its victory total from a year ago when it finished 14-18-0-1.
The last time the Wolves won more than 14 games was the 2003-04 season, when they finished 17-14-2. Their record for victories in a season was set in 2002-03, when they went 22-12-3.
Roman is pleased that his team has an opportunity to reach at least 15 wins.
"That would be a great achievement for this group to reach that mark," he said.
The Wolves, whose first season was in 1998-99, went 4-0 in the MLK tournament, including a 16-0 win over Springfield on Jan. 19. Sophomore forward Mike Roman had three goals and sophomore forward Ryan Agner, junior defenseman D.J. Freer, senior forward Patrick Roman and senior center Austin Taylor each had two goals. Sophomore goaltender Jacob Eymann had eight saves.
"Jacob has really done a great job for us, especially because this is his first time in goal," coach Roman said. "He was a defenseman last year and we needed a goalie so he gave it a try. We have been thrilled with his progress."
The Wolves are second in the Capital Hockey Conference-Blue Division at 5-6 (10 points), behind Gahanna (5-4-0-2, 12) and ahead of Watterson (3-8, 6), Olentangy (3-11, 6) and Dublin Scioto (0-12, 0).
Kilbourne plays three league games this weekend, starting with Gahanna on Friday, Jan. 25, at Chiller Easton. It then plays Scioto on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Chiller North and Watterson on Sunday, Jan. 27, at Chiller North.
The Wolves lost to Gahanna 8-3 on Jan. 11 but defeated Scioto 10-0 on Jan. 12 and Watterson 6-3 on Jan. 5.
"We have been playing well and we're thrilled with the way the kids are going as a program," coach Roman said. "We haven't had a lot of respect for a while, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. These kids (walked) into school (Jan. 22) with a (first-place) trophy, and that means a lot to them and what we have accomplished."
Cardinals finish fifth in MLK event
Thomas defeated Sylvania Southview 4-0 on Jan. 20 at Chiller North in the fifth-place game in the Red Division of its MLK Tournament.
Senior forward Will Byars had two goals, senior defenseman Brett McCarthy and junior forward Tommy Pischel each scored one and senior goalie Sean Lima had 13 saves.
Before defeating Kettering Alter 4-2 earlier Jan. 20 in pool play, Thomas had gone winless in its previous seven games and had only one victory in its previous 11. With the wins over Alter and Southview, the Cardinals improved to 10-12-1 overall.
"It always gives the kids confidence when they can put the puck in the net and get some wins," coach Steve Otto said. "It changes everyone's attitude and it's good to get back-to-back wins like this."
Against Alter, Byars had two goals, Pischel and senior defenseman Nick Highley both scored one goal and Lima had 19 saves.
"The tournament went really well and the parents really deserve a pat on the back for the great work they did," Otto said.
The Cardinals are fourth in the CHC-White at 3-8-1 (7 points), behind Olentangy Orange (10-1, 20), St. Charles (7-3-0-1, 15) and DeSales (4-6-1-1, 10).
Thomas faces Orange on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Chiller North and St. Charles on Sunday, Jan. 27, at Chiller North in league games.
The Cardinals have not played St. Charles this season, but they lost to Orange 3-1 on Jan. 11 in league play and lost 5-2 to the Pioneers on Dec. 1 in the Landon Ramirez Tournament.