The Upper Arlington High School hockey team has had solid goaltenders throughout coach Jay Graham's 10-year tenure, and this season is no exception.

The Upper Arlington High School hockey team has had solid goaltenders throughout coach Jay Graham's 10-year tenure, and this season is no exception.

Junior Drew Cook is in his second season on the varsity but his first as the starting goalie. His statistics are far from stellar -- he had a 6.75 goals-against average and an .843 save percentage through 10 games -- but Graham believes those statistics are misleading.

"People have to understand that he's seeing 45, 50 shots a game," Graham said. "He's doing a pretty nice job. We have a young team and we've had so many breakdowns in front of the net and miscommunication. There's only so much he can do to stop the puck.

"When we start buckling down (defensively), you'll see his numbers improve."

Graham respects the way Cook has handled playing behind a young defense.

"He's very level-headed out there," said Graham, who considers Cook to be one of the top goalies in the area. "I know that it's hard for him right now. It would be easy for him to get frustrated, but he's keeping a positive attitude and doing his best to keep us in games. He's kept some games close for us.

"His best attribute is his quickness. He's very quick. He recovers very well."

Cook is working on doing more to help the defense, which consists of three returning letterwinners in Clay Hall, Austin Oberlin and David Whalen and three first-year varsity players in Spence Luallen, Nate Rooney and Evan Westfall.

"It's my job to see the ice and tell them what's open and what's not open," Cook said. "I'm working on talking them through the breakout (of the defensive zone)."

Cook is well-aware of the successful goalies the program has had, particularly the last two -- Matt Loveland and Ian Ansel, who helped the Bears reach the state tournament in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons.

Loveland had a 23-7-2 record with a 1.84 GAA and an .899 save percentage as a senior in 2005-06, in which UA reached state for the first time and lost to Parma Padua Franciscan 7-4 in a semifinal. Ansel went 25-14-4 with a 2.30 GAA and an .899 save percentage as a junior in 2006-07, in which the Bears lost to Padua Franciscan 3-2 in a state semifinal.

Cook strives to live up to the standards that Loveland and Ansel set.

"There's a lot of pressure on me," Cook said. "But I like pressure. For the most part, I think I play pretty well under pressure."

Making Cook's job more challenging is the fact that he's not getting much offensive support. UA continues to struggle to score goals. Through 10 games, the Bears had just 15 goals and had been shut out four times.

The leading goal scorer through 10 games was forward James Baugh with four. Forward Ethan Burton was second with three, with forwards Andrew Daehn, Reid Greiner and Jack Sansbury scoring two.

"We have to keep driving the legs, keep driving to the net," Graham said.

Help may be on the way as forward Paul Teetor was expected to make his season debut last Friday against Gilmour Academy. Teetor has been out since the start of the season with a knee injury after scoring six goals in four scrimmages. He scored three goals in 13 games last season.

"We're a young team," Graham said. "We're still learning. We have decent shifts, but what we have to do is put together good periods and then good games. It's one step at a time. By the end of the year, we will have improved enough that we will be tough to beat."

At a glance

Below are the recent results and coming schedule for the Upper Arlington hockey team:

Dec. 13 -- Lost to Oxford Talawanda 10-0

Dec. 14 -- Lost to Findlay 12-3

Last Friday -- Played Gates Mills Gilmour Academy in Tam-O-Shanter Invitational

Last Saturday -- Played Oregon Clay and Toledo St. Francis in Tam-O-Shanter Invitational

Last Sunday -- Played Amherst Steele in Tam-O-Shanter Invitational

Saturday-Tuesday -- At Pennsylvania Scholastic Showcase in Pittsburgh. The Bears will play Oakdale (Pa.) West Allegheny, Greensburg (Pa.) Central Catholic and Upper St. Clair (Pa.).

*Jan. 2 -- At Chiller at Easton vs. Gahanna

*Jan. 3 -- At Chiller North vs. Olentangy Liberty

*Jan. 4 -- At Chiller North vs. Thomas Worthington

Of note: The Bears were 0-10 overall before last Friday and are 0-2 in the CHC.

*CHC game