Once Luke Pavlas was hired as New Albany High School hockey coach in May, it didn’t take long for Eagles players to get an idea of how things would change.
“Pavlas is definitely strict,” senior defenseman Joey Mattevi said. “We’re making habits out of doing the little things right so when it comes to game time, we’re doing good things all over the ice. It’s definitely more intense (and) faster-paced. From the start, before we got on the ice, he told us what we were going to be. That’s what we are working toward.
“I personally like it better. We have a good team culture. Now it’s full-go, trying to be the best.”
Pavlas, who played for Ohio State from 2000-03 and is just the second coach in program history, also is utilizing a more aggressive style in the hopes of returning New Albany to its winning ways after a sometimes-rough first season in the Capital Hockey Conference-Red Division.
The Eagles are off to a 2-0-0-2 start, having averaged four goals per game last weekend during the Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin.
The Eagles went 13-20 overall and 6-10 with 12 points in the league last year, and entered this season needing to replace their top two scorers and starting goaltender.
“We’re attacking more into the net, going faster and quicker,” junior defenseman Max Phillips said. “We have more speed. We’re not going east to west but north to south quicker to get the puck into the offensive zone and get it into the back of the net. Last year, it was more about controlling the puck.
“It takes getting used to, but we’re excited about it. It leads to goals if you do it right.”
Pavlas replaced Joe Kola, who went 81-49-5-3 in five seasons and guided the team from club status into a varsity sport.
New Albany’s first three games went to shootouts.
The Eagles opened with a 2-1 loss to Holmdel (New Jersey) St. John Vianney on Nov. 23 and split two games the next day, defeating Dublin Jerome 4-3 and losing to Cleveland St. Ignatius’ B team by the same score before defeating Dublin Coffman 8-0 on Nov. 25 to take fifth place in the Varsity Gray Division.
The Eagles must make up for the losses of forward Tyler Riddle, who led the team in goals (40) and assists (19) last year, as well as forward Alex Arenschield (15 goals) and goalie Alex Mattevi (690 saves, 90 goals allowed).
Senior forward Jordan Campbell had 14 goals and 12 assists last year. Junior forward Brandon Barash added 11 goals and 15 assists.
Senior Tucker King and sophomore Max Dupler are expected to split time in goal this season.
“They have responded well,” Pavlas said. “(During) all our drills in practice, they attack the net. They have a job to do after they attack the net. It’s not just shoot the puck and get in line. It’s shoot the puck and rebound, shoot the puck and attack the net. When you have to think in hockey, it’s too late. We’re trying to ingrain these things in them.”
Rounding out the roster are seniors Michael Siebenaler (forward) and Parker VanDenBerge (defenseman), juniors Jacob Brooks (forward), Jackson Buss (forward), Aidan Doyle (defenseman), Jacob Haywood (defenseman), Carson Johnston (forward), Noah LaCommare (forward/defenseman), Matthew Moellering (forward) and Rhys Tangeman (forward), sophomores Victor Appell (forward), Daylan Campbell (forward), Ian Hoff (defenseman) and Max Murch (defenseman) and freshmen Colin Appell (forward), Zack Blaney (forward) and Josh Hall (forward).
New Albany begins CHC play Dec. 7 against Watterson at Chiller Easton. The Eagles finished fifth in the CHC-Red last year behind champion Jerome (30, 15-1).
In previous years, the last-place team in the CHC-Red would have dropped back to the CHC-White for the next season, but New Albany remains in the top division because of the league’s expansion from 15 to 17 teams with the additions of Columbus Academy and Olentangy Berlin.
Athletes announce college choices
Twenty-one student-athletes announced their college decisions Nov. 14.
Liz Beckner and Alyssa Kneedler will play women’s lacrosse at Lindenwood, Noah Boffo will play men’s soccer at Xavier, Robert Cash will play men’s tennis at Ohio State, Lydia Cornelius will play women’s soccer at the University of Chicago, Perry Doran will play men’s lacrosse at Monmouth, Austin Erdley will play baseball at the University of Indianapolis, Drew Fischer will play men’s soccer at Colgate, Philip Horton will play men’s soccer at Virginia, Jada Johnson will swim at Howard, Nathan Jose will play men’s tennis at Army, Isabelle Karen will row at Notre Dame, Zoe Kellerman will play women’s lacrosse at Rollins, Tori Kendle will be on the equestrian team at Georgia, Addyson Koterba will play women’s lacrosse at Mercer, Morgan Pankow will golf at the University of Miami, Chloe Platte will play women’s lacrosse at Furman, Emily Rezabek will play women’s lacrosse at Ohio State, Taylor Rhea will play softball at Morehead State, Bella Romagnano will be on the gymnastics team at Penn State and Josie Smith will play women’s basketball at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Nov. 23 -- Holmdel (N.J.) St. John Vianney in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin
Nov. 24 -- Cleveland St. Ignatius B and Dublin Jerome in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin
Nov. 25 -- Dublin Coffman in Chiller Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin
Nov. 30 -- Olentangy Liberty in Adam Allgeyer Memorial Showcase at Chiller Dublin
Dec. 1 -- Olentangy Orange and Parma Padua in Adam Allgeyer Memorial Showcase at Chiller Dublin
Dec. 2 -- TBD in Adam Allgeyer Memorial Showcase at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 7 -- Watterson at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 8 -- St. Charles in Chiller Easton
*Dec. 14 -- Olentangy Orange at Chiller Easton
*Dec. 15 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Northland Ice Arena
*Dec. 16 -- Dublin Jerome at Chiller Dublin
*Dec. 22 -- Cincinnati Moeller at Chiller Easton
Dec. 28 -- Cincinnati Moeller in Holly-Daze Invitational Tournament at Bowling Green State University
Dec. 28 -- Findlay in Holly-Daze Invitational Tournament at The Cube
Dec. 29 -- Whitehouse Anthony Wayne in Holly-Daze Invitational Tournament at The Cube
Dec. 30 -- Perrysburg in Holly-Daze Invitational Tournament at The Cube
*Jan. 2 -- Olentangy at Chiller North
*Jan. 4 -- St. Charles at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Jan. 5 -- Olentangy Liberty at Chiller Easton
*Jan. 11 -- Columbus Academy at Chiller Dublin
*Jan. 12 -- Springboro at South Metro Sports
Jan. 18 -- McMurray (Pa.) Peters Township in Meadville Bulldog Hockey Invitational Tournament at Meadville Area Recreation Complex
Jan. 19 -- Cleveland St. Ignatius and Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep in Meadville Bulldog Hockey Invitational Tournament at Meadville Area Recreation Complex
Jan. 20 -- TBD in Meadville Bulldog Hockey Invitational Tournament at Meadville Area Recreation Complex
*Jan. 25 -- Olentangy Liberty at Chiller North
*Jan. 27 -- Dublin Jerome at Chiller Easton
*Feb. 1 -- Dublin Coffman at Chiller Easton
*Feb. 2 -- Upper Arlington at OhioHealth Ice Haus
*Feb. 3 -- Upper Arlington at Chiller Easton
Below are the coming schedules for the New Albany boys basketball, bowling, swimming & diving and wrestling teams:
Nov. 30 -- At Olentangy Orange
Dec. 5 -- Home vs. Licking Heights
*Dec. 3 -- Olentangy at Delaware Lanes
*Dec. 5 -- Olentangy Liberty at Gahanna Lanes
SWIMMING & DIVING
Dec. 4 -- Home vs. Groveport
Dec. 1 -- Tony Pizzurro Memorial Tournament at DeSales
Dec. 5 -- At Westerville North with St. Charles