This year, the Spring Banquet theme was “Moving Up” after losing multiple seniors the year before. Head Coach John Damrath stated, “People said the Orange Ice Hockey team would struggle to have a competitive team this year, but fast forward 9 months and after Senior Cam Miller scored the winning goal on February 9th with just over one minute remaining to down Dublin Jerome 5 – 4. The Orange Pioneers won the White Division and earned a #6 seed and 1st round bye for the OHSAA District Playoff.”
The Olentangy Orange boys hockey team proved them wrong, ending the season with a record of 26-12-0.
On Friday, Oct. 22, the boys played their first regular-season game for the 19/20 year against St. Charles. Starting off strong, Junior Payton Muth scored a goal in the first period to lead the game. Unfortunately, that was the only goal for the pioneers as they fell to the cardinals 1-4. On Sunday, Oct. 24, your Orange Pioneers bounced back against Dublin Scioto winning by a huge 18-1.
Friday, Oct. 29 marked the first day of the Chiller Tournament at The Chiller North for the boys and they were looking to win. The hockey team went up against Hilliard Davidson and battled back and forth to tie Davidson with seven goals at the end of regulation. In overtime, Junior Clayton Headlee was able to put one in the net after a huge save from goalie Carter GoodKnight to win 8-7. The tournament continued the next day on Saturday, Oct. 30 with back to back games. Your Pioneers were able to secure a win against Strongsville 7-4 but were not able to defeat the St. Charles Cardinals earlier that day losing a close game 4-3. The final game occurred on Sunday, Dec. 1, against Xavier. The Neers were able to win big 7-4. The boys’ record for the tournament concluded with three wins and one loss, making their overall record 4-2. Coming off of tournament play, on Thursday, Dec. 5, the boys traveled to Dublin to play against Powell and unfortunately they could not pull out the win, losing 4-10.
On Sunday, Dec. 15, hockey played a huge game against rival team Olentangy Berlin with the home-ice advantage. Senior goalie Kyle Diehr shut out the Bears and Senior Blake Messenger scored an early goal to help the team get the win. Junior Clayton Headlee scored on the powerplay to make the final score 2-0.
On Dec. 20, the Neers were ready to play their second back to back game against Cincinnati Saint Xavier. The team played a hard fought game but lost 4-6 to the Bombers so on Dec. 21, your pioneers were ready to bounce back during their third straight night playing hockey. The team had the home-ice advantage against Penn. After three long periods, the boys came out on top with a score of 5-4. On the Pioneers fourth and final night of playing hockey back to back, they competed against Springboro at the South Metro ice rink. Ending 2019 on a good note, Olentangy Orange defeated the Panthers 5-4.
After a long break, the boys came back looking to start the new year with a win. With a home-ice advantage, the Neers defeated Archbishop Alter 15-3 to start the year 1-0 and on Jan. 10, the Pioneers played at the Chiller North against rival Olentangy. During the electrifying 3 periods, Orange was able to defeat the Braves as goalie Kyle Neer and goal leader Clayton Headlee led the team 10-4 past Olentangy.
On Friday, Jan. 17, the boys started the three-day Pioneer Classic Tournament at the Chiller North. The Olentangy Orange Pioneers got goals from Senior Aaron Johnson and Junior Clayton Headlee to defeat Talawanda in the first game. Senior goalie Carter Goodknight made several saves late in the game as Talawanda pulled their goalie for a sixth attacker. On Saturday, Jan. 18, the Pioneers played two back to back games against Hudson High School and Canton Akron High School respectively. The boys were able to secure two more close wins 2-1, and 3-2, allowing them to advance to the finals against Mentor on Sunday, Jan. 19. Junior Aaron Johnson was on fire scoring the lone two goals for the Pioneers but unfortunately, Orange could not execute a win falling 2-5 against the cardinals putting the team in second place for the weekend.
On Friday, Jan. 24, the varsity boys competed against Flint Power Catholic out of Michigan on home ice. It was a physical game, resulting in over 15 penalty minutes from both teams and an ejection on the Pioneer side. Unfortunately, the boys could not execute any goals against the Chargers, while they put six past Senior Goalie Goodnight, resulting in a final score of 0-6.
Saturday, Jan. 25 the boys bounced back against Desales at the Easton Chiller. Sophomore goalie Kyle Diehr led the team by only allowing one goal, resulting in a win 11-1. The next day on Sunday, Jan. 26 the Pioneers were back at Easton against Gahanna. Eager to push the winning streak, the boys powered past Gahanna by scoring nine goals and Diehr only allowing two in the back of the net, resulting in a final score of 9-2.
On Friday, Jan. 31 hockey dominated Dublin Coffman. Goalie Kyle Diehr led the game, only giving up one goal to the other team. At the end of three periods, the Pioneers led and won 9-1 against the Rocks. Senior Night on Saturday, Feb. 1 your Pioneers battled against Columbus Academy. The boys honored seniors Camden Cush, Luke Clifford, Jake Morrone, Eddie Muller, Nathon Hazel, Carter Goodnight, Cameron Miller, and Blake Messenger for their contributions to the team this year. Continuing to help the team, the seniors, including Goalie Goodnight who only let one puck in the back of the net, led the boys to victory against the Vikings 11-1.
On Sunday, Feb, 9 your Pioneers went up against Dublin Jerome during an early 4 PM game. For the duration of 45 minutes, it was a close game, as both teams were tied at four until the last minutes of the third period. Goals were scored by Juniors Austin Knupp and Clayton Headlee, along with Seniors Blake Messenger and Jake Morrone. The tiebreaker was shot and made with 60 seconds left in the third period by Senior Cam Miller. The final score of 5-4 allowed the Pioneers to come out on top of the Celts and secure first place in their Division and get an automatic spot in the CBJ Tournament.
On Thursday, Feb. 13 the Pioneers played in the first round of the CBJ Cup against Olentangy Liberty. Fighting a hard game led by both Sophomore Goalie Kyle Diehr and Senior Goalie Carter Goodknight, they unfortunately lost 0-4 against the Patriots.
On Sunday, Feb. 23 the boys competed in the first round of Districts against St. Xavier at the Chiller North. Looking to score as much as possible after a tough 4-6 loss to the Bombers during the regular season, the Pioneers did not disappoint. By scoring seven goals and with Goalie Kyle Diehr leading the defense and only allowing St. Xavier one point, the boys won a huge win with a score of 7-1. On Feb. 29, boys hockey competed in the district quarterfinals against the number 2 seed St. Charles at the Ice Haus. Completing the upset, Sophomore Goalie Kyle Diehr led the team to a 4-1 victory over the Cardinals. The next day on March 1, the Pioneers competed in the District semifinals against Olentangy Liberty. The boys scored 4 crazy goals; two from Junior Payton Muth, and one from Junior Clayton Headlee and Senior Cam Miller. Unfortunately, this was not enough to defeat the Patriots, finishing the season with a 4-7 loss. Junior Payton Muth said, “We had a great season; we created a good team chemistry and played for each other rather than for ourselves. That is why we were so successful.”
Written By: Abby Struntz