Coach Paul Roman said his players on the Worthington Kilbourne High School hockey team love the game and that has equated to the Wolves' recent success.
Kilbourne has won four of five games in January, improving to 9-7-0-1 overall after defeating Dublin Scioto 8-0 on Jan. 11 at Chiller Dublin.
"They just have a lot of fun out on the ice and they just love the game," Roman said. "When it was minus-1 (degree) or whatever it was, they went out and found a pond to play on. They can't get enough of it."
Kilbourne is second in the Capital Hockey Conference-Blue Division at 4-5-0-1 with nine points, behind Olentangy (6-7, 12 points). Watterson (4-7, 8) is third, followed by Thomas Worthington (1-8-0-1, 3) and Scioto (0-12, 0).
"All through January, we have played pretty much Blue Division teams, which is more to our competition," said Roman, whose team's only setback in the five-game span was an 8-1 loss to CHC-Red powerhouse Olentangy Liberty on Jan. 5. "We have been playing hard all year and most of our losses are by a goal or two."
The Wolves defeated Thomas 8-6 on Jan. 10 at Chiller North as Mike Roman scored six goals. D.J. Freer and Will Givens also scored and goaltender Jacob Eymann had 17 saves.
"Thomas was a lot different than the first time we played them," coach Roman said of a 17-4 Wolves victory Dec. 8 in the Kilbourne Tournament at Chiller North. "They gave us everything we could handle."
Mike Roman leads the CHC in goals with 19, and he has 13 assists. Ryan Agner has nine goals and seven assists, and Scott Humes has five goals and seven assists. Eymann has an .830 save percentage in league games.
Thomas looking to end losing streak
Thomas will look to break a 12-game losing streak when it enters competition in the Olentangy Orange Holiday Classic, which will be held Friday, Jan. 17, through Sunday, Jan. 19, at Chiller Easton, Chiller Ice Works and Chiller North.
The Cardinals open Friday, Jan. 17, against Springboro at Chiller Easton. On Saturday, Jan. 18, they play Owensboro (Ky.) at Chiller Ice Works before facing Centerville at Chiller North.
"We're in a long losing streak that we have to snap out of," said coach Steve Otto, whose team is 3-12-0-1 overall. "We just need to win."
In the Cardinals' 8-6 loss to Kilbourne, Joey Pischel scored three goals with two assists and Tom Pischel had two goals with three assists. Riley Maloney had two goals with one assist and Liam Martin had one assist. Goalie Zach Graham had 37 saves.
The Cardinals have had several chances to break the streak. Thomas lost to Upper Arlington 4-3 on Jan. 4 at Chiller North and to DeSales 4-3 on Dec. 27 at Chiller Easton.
"We played UA well and played well against DeSales and played well for the most part (against Kilbourne)," Otto said.
"But we have one or two mistakes that really hurt us. The effort is there ... our attitude is good ... we just need a win."
Joey Pischel leads the team with 28 goals and 22 assists, and Tom Pischel has 12 goals with 13 assists. Maloney has 11 goals with 14 assists, followed by Dominic Caminiti (6 goals, 5 assists) and Christopher Kocheran (6 goals, 2 assists). Graham has 277 saves with an .847 save percentage, and Chris DiMarco has 112 saves with a .794 save percentage.