Austin Taylor and Nathan Walters are similar players on the ice for the Worthington Kilbourne High School hockey team but could not be more different off it.

Austin Taylor and Nathan Walters are similar players on the ice for the Worthington Kilbourne High School hockey team but could not be more different off it.

Taylor is quiet and unassuming while Walters is gregarious and quick with a quip. On the ice, the junior forwards provide Kilbourne a boost of energy when needed most.

"Nathan and Austin are very similar players," coach Tom Erlenbusch said. "They bring high energy and are on opposite lines.

"They are not our leading scorers, but they are leading players. They may not score the goals, but do the little things necessary to put the puck in the net."

Through 20 games, Walters had seven goals and 12 assists and Taylor had six goals and two assists. Senior forward Patrick Roman led the team with 14 goals and eight assists, followed by freshman forward Mike Roman with 10 goals and 10 assists. Sophomore defenseman D.J. Freer had six goals and seven assists and junior defenseman Nick Marinelli had five goals and three assists.

"I started hockey when I was 5 years old," Taylor said. "It's really great to be out there on skates and be on the ice. I love everything about the game.

"The high school game is paced a lot faster than the travel game. (In high school), you go up against guys who are older and bigger and sometimes have more skills."

Walters began playing hockey when he was 4 and said the sport has a lot in common with another sport he plays - football.

"It's a fast-paced, physical sport. You get to work with your buddies, score goals and win," said Walters, who also plays volleyball. "Football definitely helps with the work in the weight room. It also helps with speed and being physical and staying in condition."

Conditioning always is important, but that especially was the case for the Wolves the past two seasons. A small roster forced Kilbourne to play only two forward lines, causing players to wear down over the course of a game.

"It's really important to have more players," Taylor said. "Last year, we had two lines and by the time we reached the third period, we were really tired. With three lines, everyone is conditioned and able to play the whole game."

The Wolves finished 6-21-1 overall last season but are 10-12-0-1 overall and 4-5-0-1 in the Capital Hockey Conference this season.

"It's so much better to have more guys playing," Walters said. "In my freshman year, it seemed like we were on the ice all of the time and getting exhausted. Now we can go longer and play better when we're out there on the ice."

Erlenbusch said Taylor leads by example and never seems to tire.

"Austin gives 100 percent on every shift he is on and I would take 20 players like him," Erlenbusch said.

"He's a quiet kid, but he's in great shape and has a great attitude about the game."

Walters' versatility has helped set him apart.

"Nathan will do anything to help the team," Erlenbusch said. "Last year, he played defense for us because that's where we needed him. This year, he's back at forward and has been great there for us."

Taylor also is a sprinter in track and field, which he said helps him prepare for the hockey season.

"Being a sprinter in track definitely helps me with conditioning," he said. "All of the running really helps me stay in condition for this."