Olentangy Liberty is moving on to the state final for the first time in school history. The Patriots will face University School at Noon on Sunday. The game will be played at Nationwide Arena. University School sits at an impressive 29-8-1, and won Saturday’s game in dominant fashion, beating Northview 4-0.
The Patriots have had a historically great season, going 38-1-1. St. Edward handed them their only loss of the season on November 27. Saturday, they took on the only school ranked higher than them, Saint Ignatius, and they were able to pull out the win in tight fashion. Here is how it went down:
Saint Ignatius’s Dario Piazza got on the board early, with a goal 3:30 into the game. Cal Basile followed with a goal three minutes later to get Ignatius up 2-0 early. “These guys were starting to wonder what we would do, but I knew we were going to get the next one. Once we made it 2-1 I knew that our guys were back. That (first) goal was the game changer in my opinion” said coach Kevin Alexander.
The Patriots struck back with a power play goal from big Jack Hamilton to ignite the comeback, and goals from Jake Struck and Charlie Hughes pushed Liberty ahead right before the end of the first period.
Zach Baker scored just over one minute into the second period to tie the game at 3, and from there Liberty controlled the pace with various odd man rushes and zone time, until they were eventually able to break the tie with a slot goal from Andrew Leonard, which proved to be the game winner.
Liberty was able to successfully stop the push from St. Ignatius, with goalie Robbie Cook making a series of impressive saves throughout the period.
Liberty is looking to be the first CHC team to have a state title to their name, and University school will get a shot at their first state title since 2009. “It’s a lot of pressure, we have such high expectations, but with how we are in high pressure games I think we will come out and make a statement” said Carson Reynolds. “We’re gonna come out tomorrow and do the same thing”.
--- Ian Phillips for Ohio Hockey Digest
#26 Jack Hamilton (Defense)
#21 Jake Struck (Left Wing)
#2 Andrew Leonard (Right Wing)
#15 Luke Palmer (Right Wing)
#21 Sam Wade (Left Wing)
#5 Will Genovese (Defense)