The Northeast Storm club hockey team ended the season by playing better than its seed last weekend in the Buckeye Cup.

Seeded ninth in the 12-team state tournament at Sports Plus in Cincinnati, Northeast went 2-1 and tied fellow Ohio Scholastic Hockey League team PHA for sixth with six points.

The Storm defeated fourth-seeded Dayton 5-4 in a shootout March 7 and split two games the next day, losing to third-seeded Cincinnati 5-2 and defeating 10th-seeded North Royalton 5-4.

The top four teams in pool play advanced to the semifinals March 9.

Top-seeded Newark won its second consecutive state championship, defeating second-seeded Medina 4-3 in the final March 10.

Senior forward Noah Luehmann (Bexley) had all of his team-high three goals for the Storm last weekend against North Royalton, including the game-winner with 2 seconds left. Senior forward Ryan Pasqualetti (Johnstown) had two goals and an assist, and freshman forward Damon Warren (Westerville North) had a goal and four assists.

"It was a great tournament for the boys," coach Matt Wince said.

"We fell short, but played to our full potential."

Northeast finished 22-23-3 overall and went 8-14-2 with 18 points in the OSHL, sixth behind the champion Generals (41, 18-1-5).

The team also had a coaching change in January, when Wince took over for Eric Schnabel.

"We have a very young team, having lost 29 seniors in the last two years. Our roster is also shorter than most in the (OSHL). We have 15 skaters and two goalies, so at times, we (were) thin due to injuries and other absences," Wince said.

"We emphasized a focus on fundamentals and team discipline."

Northeast expects to return two of its top four scorers in Warren, who finished with 32 goals, and Bexley sophomore forward Philip Luehmann (18 goals).

Also among those eligible to return are sophomores Will Hortz (defenseman, Worthington Kilbourne) and Kevyn Neil (goaltender, Johnstown).

dpurpura@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekDave