Paul Roman liked what he saw in his first season coaching the Worthington Kilbourne High School hockey team.
The Wolves finished 19-15-1 overall, losing to fourth-seeded Cincinnati Moeller 4-3 in the second round of the district tournament Feb. 16. Seeded 13th of 23 teams, Kilbourne defeated 19th-seeded Cincinnati Elder 7-0 in the first round Feb. 15.
"We were up 3-1 in the first (period), but Moeller has a really disciplined, fundamental team," Roman said. "They just kept chipping away at us."
Kilbourne finished second in the Capital Hockey Conference-Blue Division at 7-9-1 (15 points), behind Gahanna (8-6-1-2, 19) and ahead of Watterson (4-12-0-1, 9), Olentangy (3-14, 6) and Dublin Scioto (0-17, 0).
Olentangy Liberty (15-0-1-1, 32) won the CHC-Red and Olentangy Orange (14-2, 28) won the CHC-White.
"We lost 10 of our 15 games by two goals or less," Roman said. "And those were against teams like Orange, Moeller, (Dublin) Coffman, St. Charles ... some of the best teams in the league."
Kilbourne loses five seniors in defenseman Nick Marinelli and forwards Patrick Roman (30 goals, 26 assists), Austin Taylor (17 goals, 28 assists), Reid Sampson and Nathan Walters.
Roman and Walters were captains and Marinelli and Taylor were alternate captains.
"Our seniors did an incredible job and I'm so proud of them," coach Roman said. "They put it all together this year. They weren't a vocal group but were business-like and got the job done."
Kilbourne expects to return four of its top six scorers, including sophomore forward Mike Roman, who led the team with 38 goals and 32 assists. The others are sophomore forward Ryan Agner (30 goals, 25 assists) and junior defensemen Tucker Haas (21 goals, 18 assists) and D.J. Freer (16 goals, 23 assists).
Coach Roman was pleased with the progress made by sophomore goaltender Jacob Eymann, who played the position for the first time.
"Jacob was a great surprise and had a terrific season," he said. "He was such a strong suit on our team and helped us put all of the pieces together."
Also expected back are juniors Ben Piecenski (forward) and Noah Veccia (defenseman), sophomores Wes Hickman (defenseman) and Kevin Schultz (forward) and freshman Tanner Taylor (defenseman).
The Wolves were runners-up in the consolation bracket of Blue Jackets Cup, losing to Upper Arlington 3-2 in the final Feb. 10.
Cardinals fall short against St. Charles
Thomas lost to fifth-seeded St. Charles 4-1 in the second round of the district tournament Feb. 17 to finish 12-17-1 overall.
The 14th-seeded Cardinals defeated 17th-seeded Olentangy 5-0 in the first round Feb. 15.
"We played so many teams tough, but just didn't always get the rewards of playing and working hard," said coach Steve Otto, who completed his first season leading the program.
Thomas finished fourth (4-11-1, 9) in the CHC-White, behind Orange (14-2, 28), St. Charles (10-5-0-1, 21) and DeSales (7-7-1-1, 16).
The Cardinals lose seven seniors in forwards Sam Bachmann (4 goals, 13 assists) and Will Byars (24 goals, 20 assists), goalies Jonathan Highley (317 saves, .890 save percentage) and Sean Lima (434 saves, .910 save percentage) and defensemen Nicholas Highley (8 goals, 16 assists), Brett McCarthy (7 goals, 8 assists) and Quintin Schomaker (4 assists).
"We had a lot of great seniors who meant a lot to the program," Otto said.
"We had two really good goalies in Jon and Sean who kept us in games and Nick Highley was really a horse for us on defense. Will did a lot of scoring for us, and Sam Bachmann, Quintin Schomaker and Brett McCarthy all played great for us."
Thomas expects to return its leading scorer in junior forward Tommy Pischel, who had 28 goals and 21 assists.
Also expected back are junior forwards Kevin Hill (3 goals, 2 assists) and Riley Maloney (4 goals, 5 assists), junior defensemen Liam Martin and Kevin Sholes, sophomore forwards Dominic Caminiti (4 goals, 5 assists) and Mara Muehlheim and freshman forwards Christopher Kocheran (3 goals, 3 assists) and Nathan Viebranz.
"We will lose both of our goalies, so our No. 1 need right now is finding one," Otto said. "We'll beat the bushes and find out what we will have next year and put that together."