Still riding the high of a victory over the top seed two days earlier, the Dublin Jerome High School hockey team quickly built a lead in the championship game of the Blue Jackets Cup tournament Feb. 12 at OhioHealth Ice Haus.
Second-seeded Olentangy Liberty scored a pair of late goals but came up short, as the Celtics won 7-5 to earn their seventh Cup title in 13 years but first since 2013.
Fourth-seeded Jerome, which improved to 21-9-5, needed overtime to beat fifth-seeded New Albany 1-0 in a first-round game Feb. 9 and knocked off top-seeded St. Charles 4-1 in a semifinal Feb. 10 to advance to the final.
Liberty dropped to 27-7-1 with the loss.
“After you take down a team like St. Charles, it definitely boosts your confidence,” Celtics senior forward Austin Booth said. “We were rolling.”
Jack Dowling scored just 1 minute, 12 seconds into the game for the Celtics off a pass from Evan Shea. Kellen Posacki gave Jerome a 2-0 lead off an assist from Cade Apple with 4:07 left in the first period.
Liberty cut its deficit to 2-1 on a goal by J.T. Schoettmer just 22 seconds later, but Jerome took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission on a goal by Joey Jenkins off a pass from Booth.
In the second period, Booth and Dowling both scored one goal and Jimmy Bursinger scored two goals for the Patriots.
“We were really impressed with their victory over St. Charles the other night,” Liberty coach Jack Hoogeveen said. “We knew we had to be ready and they got a goal early and built the margin with their power play.”
Booth made it 6-3 on a one-timer from Jenkins with 12:46 remaining and Carter Patchett scored to stretch Jerome’s lead to 7-3 with 8:36 left.
Bursinger scored his third goal of the game with 6:06 left and Ian Gilbertson scored to make it 7-5 with 4:50 remaining, but the Celtics held on.
Jack Richey had 19 saves for Jerome, which scored five power-play goals.
“It’s amazing,” Dowling said. “We’ve been working hard all season for this.”