A switch in lines has helped the Worthington Kilbourne High School hockey team play its best at the right time of the season.
Coach Paul Roman flipped several forwards and defensemen, with the change breathing new life into the Wolves' offense and defense.
Kilbourne improved to 16-10-0-2 overall while cruising to the title in the consolation bracket of the Blue Jackets Cup. The Wolves defeated Dublin Scioto 11-3 on Feb. 7 before beating Gahanna 5-1 in a semifinal Feb. 8 and Cincinnati Moeller 6-0 in the final Feb. 9.
"We have some good chemistry going right now and no one on the line cares who is doing the scoring," Roman said. "All of a sudden, things started to click. We're passing well, moving the puck and things are coming together."
Against Moeller, Ryan Agner scored four goals and D.J. Freer and Mike Roman both scored once.
"The last time we played Moeller (on Jan. 17), we were up 5-2 with three minutes left in the third period and lost (6-5) in overtime," coach Roman said. "That was tough. We really wanted to play them and prove to ourselves we were better than that."
Mike Roman had four goals against Gahanna and Freer scored the other. Jacob Eymann had 31 saves.
Against Scioto, Agner and Mike Roman scored four times each. Freer had two goals and Tucker Haas had one.
"We moved D.J. up from defense and we had Tucker Haas, Noah Veccia and Kevin Schultz move back to defense," coach Roman said. "Those three have moved back and are playing incredible defense."
Kilbourne is seeded 15th in the district tournament and opens at 8:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, at Chiller North against 21st-seeded Scioto. The winner plays second-seeded Olentangy Orange at 12:45 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, at OhioHealth Ice Haus in the second round.
The Wolves lost to the Pioneers 11-1 on Dec. 8 and 9-2 on Dec. 15.
"We figured everything would go through Orange or (top-seeded) St. Charles anyway," coach Roman said. "We have some new things in our bag of tricks and we have one more game to work on them before possibly getting a chance to face Orange."
Thomas opens against Moeller
Thomas is 6-20-0-1 overall and seeded 20th in the district tournament.
The Cardinals open at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, against 10th-seeded Moeller at the Ice Haus.
"We lost 6-3 to Moeller (on Jan. 12) in Cincinnati and I thought we played a good game," coach Steve Otto said. "I think it could be a good matchup for us."
The winner plays seventh-seeded DeSales at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, in the second round at the Ice Haus. On Dec. 27, the Cardinals lost to the Stallions 4-3.
The Cardinals lost in the opening round of the Blue Jackets Cup consolation tournament, falling 5-2 to Olentangy on Feb. 7. Dominic Caminiti scored twice and Zach Graham had 18 saves.