After being eliminated from the Blue Jackets Cup, the Westerville club hockey team awaits its fate for the state tournament.
The Warcats went 1-2 last weekend in the Blue Jackets Cup, which is a double-elimination tournament for the Ohio Scholastic Hockey League.
Westerville is eighth in the state rankings and must finish in the top 12 to qualify for the double-elimination state tournament, known as the Buckeye Cup, which begins March 8. Last season, the Warcats and Massillon Jackson tied for the final berth, with Jackson earning the at-large spot because it defeated Westerville 3-1 during the regular season.
"It would mark a great bounce-back year for the program," coach Jordan DiGiando said. "(Playing in the state tournament would be) a good reward for the seniors this season and a great opportunity for our underclassmen to know what we play for all season. Also, (it would be) a great experience for them moving forward. It would be great to have some freshmen on varsity see state each year for their duration here."
After opening the Blue Jackets Cup with a 5-4 win over PHA on Feb. 15 at Chiller Easton, the Warcats lost to Newark 3-0 on Feb. 16 and Northeast 3-2 on Feb. 17, both at Chiller Dublin.
"I thought we had our moments," DiGiando said. "We battled back very hard for a tremendous win against PHA. Our power play was lacking, so we may need to look at that going into state and revamp our systems."
Hunter Schlatterbeck scored two goals and Sean Coonfare had 23 saves against PHA.
Ben Mannino and Braden Mulick each scored and Coonfare had 39 saves against Northeast.
DiGiando missed the tournament because of an illness.
"It was extremely tough for me not to be at the games, but I left them in very capable hands," he said. "We have had a plague of sickness lately and I did not want to add to that."
The Blue Jackets Cup concludes this weekend and the champion automatically earns a berth in the Buckeye Cup. The champions of the Cincinnati High School Hockey League and the North Coast High School Hockey League also earn automatic berths, and the other nine teams earn at-large berths based on the state rankings.