The Upper Arlington hockey team turned up the pressure at both the offensive and defensive ends during the second period of the Blue Jackets Cup final Feb. 16 at OhioHealth Ice Haus, and a key turnover helped the Golden Bears achieve a program first.
Duncan MacDonald’s goal off a pass from Max Robins with 1 minute, 55 seconds left in the second gave top-seeded UA the only goal it needed in a 3-0 win over second-seeded St. Charles.
“They made a soft play, knocking the puck out of the zone, and it bounced our way. Robins made a great pass and I couldn’t not finish that,” MacDonald said. “I just got myself in position because I knew the puck was coming my way.”
Sam Burns scored 1:25 later for a 2-0 lead and Will Lawless added an empty-net goal with 1:32 left as the Bears won their first Blue Jackets Cup title.
Goaltender Garrett Alderman made 21 saves, including a few key stops in the minutes leading up to MacDonald’s goal, as UA improved to 34-0-1.
The Bears’ tie came against St. Charles, 3-all on Jan. 31 at the Ice Haus.
“We’re a quick-strike team. We need that little gap and that’s what we got,” UA coach Brett Howden said. “St. Charles has been our toughest opponent all year. Those top lines just keep going.”
Grant Wolf made 18 saves for the Cardinals, who fell to 20-8-3. St. Charles was seeking its second Blue Jackets Cup championship and first since 2014.
“There were a couple minutes where we broke down a little bit and they took advantage,” Cardinals coach Rob Sangster said. “They haven’t lost a game for a reason. They play tough and they play strong.”