Late in the third period Feb. 7 at Chiller North, freshman Carson Reynolds was taken by surprise when he realized he had scored what would end up being the Olentangy Liberty hockey team's game-winning goal in a 4-3 victory over Dublin Jerome.
It was just the second varsity game for Reynolds, and his first varsity goal.
"I didn't really know what happened," he said. "I didn't even know it was going in and then I just got dog-piled on. It felt amazing."
The Patriots, who beat St. Charles 1-0 on Feb. 8 and lost to Upper Arlington 2-0 on Feb. 9 to close the regular season, learned their district tournament drawing Feb. 12.
They are seeded third for the Blue Jackets Cup and open the event at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, against sixth-seeded Orange at Chiller Ice Works. The winner plays second-seeded St. Charles or seventh-seeded Berlin in a semifinal at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at OhioHealth Ice Haus, with the winner to play for the title at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Ice Haus.
Liberty is 21-5-5 overall and finished third in the CHC-Red Division at 10-3-3.
Three of the Patriots' losses have come against top-seeded UA, but they beat St. Charles twice. The only other area team to beat Liberty was New Albany (3-1 on Jan. 4), which is the fourth seed for the Blue Jackets Cup.
Against Jerome, Liberty was outshot 41-19.
"We're really up and down," coach Kevin Alexander said. "For some reason when we get out of town, when we go up to Cleveland, we've been awesome up there when we play those good teams. When we play the Red Division, we all know each other.
"We obviously have strong goaltending (with Andrew Vidrick) so there's no worries in net, and we can score. The difference is when our defense plays well we're going to be tough to beat. When we don't play as tough, like we did (against Jerome), we're not so tough to beat."
Swimmers move on to district meet
The Division I district swimming and diving meet began with boys diving Feb. 12 and continues Thursday, Feb. 13, with boys and girls swimming and girls diving at Ohio State.
From district, the top six boys divers, the top four girls divers, the top two finishers in each swimming event and 16 at-large qualifiers in each swimming event based on times statewide advance to the state meet, which begins Feb. 20 and concludes Feb. 22 at Branin Natatorium in Canton.
On Feb. 8 in an 11-team sectional at Kenyon, the boys were third (324) behind Jerome (420.5) and St. Charles (413.5) and the girls were third (236.5) behind Dublin Coffman (398) and Jerome (349.5).
Capturing titles for the boys were Christian Hosler in the 50-yard freestyle (20.86 seconds), the 200 medley relay of John Bently, Isaac Iversen, Hosler and Andrew Gehring (1:35.38) and the 200 free relay of Hosler, Max Miller, Eli Grubbs and Bently (1:25.7). Placing second were Iversen in the 50 free (21.6) and the 400 free relay of Gehring, Grubbs, Hosler and Bently (3:11.36), with Bently finishing third in the 100 free (47.42), Gehring placing fifth in the 50 free (22.03) and 100 free (48.37) and Gavin Weis finishing fifth in the 200 free (1:47.51).
Kate Saczawa led the girls with a first-place finish in the 100 backstroke (58.0) and a fourth-place finish in the 50 free (25.03). Finishing fifth were Morgan Hofmeister in the 200 free (2:00.73) and 50 free (5:17.66), the 200 free relay of Saczawa, Christine Racke, Sarah Worster and Meggie Gehring (1:43.49) and the 400 free relay of Racke, Kirin Loughrey, Worster and Brooke Kleinschmidt (3:50.52).
Boys basketball team seeking title share
The boys basketball team can wrap up at least a share of the OCC-Buckeye championship with a win over Olentangy on Friday, Feb. 14, at home.
A victory also would give the Patriots a season sweep of the Braves after beating them 67-53 on Jan. 10.
Before playing DeSales on Feb. 11, Liberty had won three in a row and was 15-5 overall.
The Patriots beat Westerville Central 53-49 on Feb. 7 to improve to 7-2 in the league. Westerville South lost both matchups against Liberty but also is 7-2 heading into its league finale Feb. 14 at home against Central.
For Liberty against Central, Andrew Wade scored 18 points and Henry Hinkle had 15.
Wade had 23 points and 14 rebounds in a 64-59 victory over Newark on Feb. 4.
Liberty is seeded ninth for the Division I district tournament and opens Feb. 22 at home against 34th-seeded Mifflin.
Liberty athletes select colleges
Liberty had four athletes announce their college intentions during the signing period that began Feb. 5.
Ben Flees will play football for Lawrence Tech, Theren Handlon will play men's soccer for Georgetown, Korey Raymond will compete in men's cross country and lacrosse for Ancilla and Tyus Thompson will play football for Saginaw Valley State.
Below are the coming schedules for the Liberty girls basketball, gymnastics and wrestling teams:
Feb. 15 -- Home vs. 41st-seeded Central Crossing in first round of Division I district tournament. Winner plays 20th-seeded Independence in second round Feb. 21. The Patriots are seeded 12th.
Feb. 15 -- Orange at Buckeye Gymnastics
*Feb. 13 -- Home vs. Westerville North