Hockey: Hilliard Wildcats looking to repeat Blue Jackets Cup title
The Hilliard club hockey team has set its sights on repeating as Blue Jackets Cup champions.
The Wildcats will compete in the CBJ Cup, which is the tournament for the Ohio Scholastic Hockey League, on Feb. 12-14 at Chiller Dublin and OhioHealth Ice Haus.
Hilliard had won the event only once before last winter, in the 2010-11 season.
“It will be good competition,” first-year coach Jake Trask said. “It will be the first time that games really mean something. Not that they don’t before, but you’re playing for something and you’re playing for a chance to win the cup. It will also be good in terms of a learning process for some of the guys that maybe haven’t competed in it like the younger guys. I’m looking forward to it.”
The tournament also will help the Wildcats prepare for a likely berth in the Buckeye Cup state tournament, which is scheduled for Feb. 26-28 at Chiller North.
Hilliard is seeking its 13th consecutive state berth. Last season, it won two of three games in pool play but did not advance to a semifinal.
The Wildcats were third in the state rankings released Feb. 1, and the top 12 teams qualify for the state tournament.
“I’ve been fairly happy with the strides that we’ve been taking,” Trask said. “The next few weeks will be important with practice time.”
Hilliard was 16-10-2 overall and 9-3 in the OSHL before playing Dayton on Feb. 6. The Wildcats were second in the league with 18 points, behind the first-place Stealth (24, 12-0).
Through 28 games, James Schwinne III (Central Crossing) led Hilliard in scoring with 21 goals and 13 assists. Cameron DeForest (Bradley) had 18 goals and eight assists, Jesse Stevens (Grove City) had 10 goals and 13 assists and Sammy Delio (Davidson) had 11 goals and 11 assists.
Mason Sines (Fairbanks) has seen the majority of work in goal.
Schwinne, DeForest and Dmitri Williams (Metro Early College) scored in a 3-1 win over Newark on Jan. 29.
“Things have been going well,” Trask said. “We got a big win against Newark. I was really happy with that one because we had a few cases of (COVID-19) and we missed two and a half weeks. We came back and got a big win after very minimal practice time.”