The Prowler Hockey Association club team fell out of third place in the Ohio Scholastic Hockey League on the final day of the regular season.
The Prowlers tied the Dayton Stealth at 2 on Feb. 11 to finish fifth in the OSHL at 12-9-3 (27 points), behind the Newark Generals (43, 20-1-3), Dayton (30, 13-7-4), the Hilliard Wildcats (28, 12-8-4) and the Northeast Storm (28, 12-8-4). Rounding out the league standings were the Westerville Warcats (9, 3-18-3) and the Athens Bobcats (3, 0-21-3).
PHA, which is 24-11-3 overall, is seeded fifth for the double-elimination league tournament, known as the Blue Jackets Cup, and will play fourth-seeded Northeast in the first round Thursday, Feb. 15, at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
The winner plays top-seeded Newark on Friday, Feb. 16, at Chiller Dublin, while the loser faces a to-be-determined opponent on Saturday, Feb. 17, at Chiller Easton.
The tournament continues Feb. 23 at Chiller North and concludes Feb. 24 at the Ice Haus.
Deric Richardson leads the Prowlers with 38 goals and 48 points and has 10 assists. Ryan O'Callaghan has 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points, Garrett Bowers has a team-best 14 assists and 16 points and Brandon Huix has 12 assists and 19 points.
"We didn't finish the regular season as well as we should have, but we did have a tough February schedule," said coach Bob McElheney, whose team went 0-3-1 in its final four games of the regular season. "But we were outstanding in January and it's time to take a step to the next level now."
The Blue Jackets Cup champion automatically qualifies for the state tournament, known as the Buckeye Cup, which runs March 2-4 at Chiller Easton and Chiller North.