For the second time in program history, the Dublin Jerome High School hockey team is headed to the state tournament.
The Celtics scored two first-period goals and went on to beat Olentangy Liberty 4-1 in the district final March 3 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
Jerome improved to 30-4-3-2 and advanced to play defending state champion Cleveland St. Ignatius in a state semifinal at 12:30 p.m. March 9 at Nationwide Arena.
Hunting Valley University School and Toledo St. Francis will meet in the other semifinal.
“We’ve worked so hard to be here,” senior forward Chris Posacki said. “I couldn’t feel any better about it. (Liberty has) a lot of firepower, so we knew we had to score on our chances.”
Posacki had two goals for the Celtics, whose first state appearance came in 2015.
Ryan Wheeler gave Jerome a 1-0 lead with 9 minutes, 22 seconds left in the opening period and Posacki scored seven minutes later.
Liberty cut its deficit to 2-1 on a goal by Connor Hisaw with 10:36 left in the second period, but Jerome answered with 59 seconds remaining in the period on Posacki’s second goal.
J.P. Weaver rounded out Jerome’s scoring with 2:39 left, and goaltender Harrison Graff made 39 saves for the Celtics.
Liberty, which was the defending district champion, finished 28-7-3.
“The 2-0 hole hurt us,” Patriots coach Kevin Alexander said. “I don’t think our boys have anything to be ashamed of. That’s a heck of a team we lost to.”