The Olentangy Orange High School hockey team hopes that having everyone back for the program's second season bodes well for its chances at a successful season.

The Olentangy Orange High School hockey team hopes that having everyone back for the program's second season bodes well for its chances at a successful season.

The Pioneers didn't have a senior last season, and that lack of experience likely cost them a few games.

The chemistry they developed has carried into the preseason, and the Pioneers are feeling like a team that's better prepared to handle adversity.

"We're setting our goals high," coach Tim Pennington said. "Our goals coming out are to win the Blue Jackets Cup. I don't see any reason not to shoot for that."

"It definitely helps that a lot of the younger guys have got that experience of playing last year," said junior forward Matthew Pennington, whose team opens Friday at Chiller North in the Midwest Thanksgiving Classic against DeSales and Saturday plays Whitehouse Anthony Wayne and Worthington Kilbourne. "We have a few seniors now, and just the team bonding from last year is going to help us."

Orange was 8-18-1 overall last year and 11th in the CHC behind Dublin Coffman (15-0-1).

The Pioneers return four seniors in Clayton Anderson, Mark Pytlik, Kevin Peddicord and Kevin Schodorf.

The forwards are seniors Peddicord and Schodorf and juniors Scott Bowers, Robbie Lindeman, Jimmy Lomeo and Pennington. The sophomore forwards are Dar Faroughi, Taylor Hardy and Nick Murley. Pennington led the team with 14 goals last year.

Pytlik is part of a defense that also includes juniors Adam McHugh and Alex Titus and sophomores Jacob Green and Kevin Peters. Juniors Evan Maldonado and Alex Victor are the goalkeepers.

"I think we are pretty physical," McHugh said. "What we don't have in skill, we make up for with hitting hard and with gritty play."

Coach Pennington believes Orange should have more depth this season, and that is going to allow his team to substitute more freely. There is also more competition for spots.

"We have a full roster," coach Pennington said. "(The season is) really going to depend on the kids and if they're going to skate hard both ways."

Orange had some success last year, including a second-place finish in the Adam Allgeyer tournament, which was the first trophy the program earned.

Orange defeated Dublin Scioto 4-3 in the first round of the district tournament before losing to Cincinnati Moeller 4-1 in the second round.

Moeller joined the CHC for the coming season, and instead of having two six-team divisions like last year, the CHC will be comprised of one 14-team division with each team playing 13 league games.

Orange played in the Jackets Division of the CHC last year and finished behind Dublin Coffman, Kilbourne (8-8-0-1), Gahanna (8-8), St. Charles (7-9-0-1) and DeSales (6-10).

At a glance

•Coach: Tim Pennington, second season

•Opener: Friday vs. DeSales in Midwest Thanksgiving Classic (Chiller Dublin)

•Key players: Adam McHugh, Matthew Pennington and Alex Titus

Schedule

Nov. 27 vs. DeSales at Midwest Thanksgiving Classic (Chiller Dublin)

Nov. 28 vs. Whitehouse Anthony Wayne and Worthington Kilbourne at Midwest Thanksgiving Classic (Chiller Dublin)

*Dec. 18 vs. DeSales (Chiller Easton)

*Dec. 19 vs. Kilbourne (Chiller North)

*Dec. 20 vs. Cincinnati Moeller (Cincinnati Gardens)

*Jan. 1 vs. Watterson (Chiller North)

*Jan. 2 vs. Dublin Coffman (Chiller Dublin)

*Jan. 3 vs. Liberty (Chiller North)

*Jan. 8 vs. St. Charles (Chiller North)

*Jan. 9 vs. Dublin Scioto (Chiller North)

Jan. 15 at Martin Luther King Tournament

*Jan. 23 vs. Upper Arlington (Chiller Easton)

Jan. 24 vs. Oxford Talawanda (Miami University)

*Jan 29 vs. Dublin Jerome (Chiller Dublin)

Jan. 30 vs. Upper Arlington (Dispatch Ice Haus)

*Jan. 31 vs. Gahanna (Chiller North)

*Feb. 5 vs. Olentangy (Chiller North)

*Feb. 6 vs. Thomas Worthington (Chiller North)

*CHC game