Celtics eye another trip to state
By FRANK DiRENNA
Friday November 27, 2015 10:41 AM
The Dublin Jerome High School hockey team has set its sights on making a return trip to the state tournament.
The Celtics are coming off their first state appearance and 12th-year coach Pat Murphy believes his team has the potential to repeat.
Jerome lost to Lakewood St. Edward 2-0 in a state semifinal last season to finish 29-8-2 overall. The Celtics won their first district championship by defeating Upper Arlington 4-3 in overtime in the district final.
"Now that the new team has been picked, we certainly won't forget about last year, but we don't want to look back at what we did before. We need to look ahead," Murphy said. "Obviously, it's one of our goals, to try to repeat as district champions. It's going to be hard to do."
The Celtics open Friday, Nov. 27, by playing both Springboro and Olentangy Orange in the Midwest Thanksgiving Classic at Chiller Dublin. The annual tournament concludes Sunday, Nov. 29.
Jerome has returned several key players, including senior forwards Jonathan Kinkopf (12 goals, 10 assists), Evan Walters (9 goals, 12 assists) and Ian Markovich (6 goals, 9 assists), senior defenseman Justin Longbrake (1 goal, 9 assists) and junior forward James Fischer (9 goals, 9 assists).
Other key returnees include senior defenseman Alex Markovich (5 goals, 5 assists), senior forward Hunter Stavroff (2 goals, 3 assists) and junior forward Austin Booth (4 goals, 4 assists).
Junior defenseman Jack Laird also is back.
Junior Jack Richey and sophomore Harrison Graff are competing for the starting goaltending position in place of 2015 graduate Connor Willette, who made first-team all-Capital Hockey Conference and all-CHC-Red Division a year ago.
"I think we can go back (to state)," Fischer said. "(Last year) is definitely motivation to get back to where we went last year. It's something to achieve again. We have to come together as a team just like last year, be one unit, not give up on each other, play well and play hard."
Also on the roster are seniors Nathan Hauke (defenseman), Adam Stephens (forward) and Brett Wheeler (defenseman), juniors Jack Brim (forward), Jack Dowling (forward), Joey Jenkins (forward) and William Swift (defenseman) and sophomores Nathan Kolenda (defenseman), Carter Patchett (forward) and Brian Wheeler (forward).
The Celtics lost 13 players from a year ago to graduation, including forward Chris Cathis, who led the team in scoring with 32 goals and 24 assists, and was named first-team all-CHC and all-CHC-Red.
Jerome went 12-2-2 (26 points) in the CHC-Red to tie Olentangy Orange (12-2-1-1) for second behind St. Charles (28, 14-2) and ahead of Coffman (20, 9-5-1-1) and Olentangy Liberty (15, 6-7-2-1).
Liberty has been replaced by UA in the CHC-Red.
"I really enjoy this," Murphy said. "It's nice to build something from the ground up. We've had a lot of really great kids come through the school and the hockey program."