Ticket Punched: Team Ohio 14U Heading to USA Hockey National Tournament

The Team Ohio 14U hockey team is heading to Nationals… that’s the headline, that is what people will notice. What goes unnoticed is the countless sacrifices this group of young men have made along the way.

A season that started on August 18, 2023, in Philadelphia, PA with a 2-0 win over the Lehigh Valley Phantoms was extended on March 17, 2024, when the boys defeated the Cleveland Barons by the same score, 2-0, to win the 14U, Tier 2, Mid-American Conference, Ohio State Championship.

Now, as they prepare to head to Amherst, NY to represent Ohio at USA Hockey Nationals (Youth, Tier 2, 14U) they will do what they have done all year- get back to work. Come April these boys have been grinding it out for nearly 8 months logging countless hours on and off the ice, and working tirelessly, in preparation for this moment. The boys will hit the ice for yet another practice this Thursday night at their usual spot, Winterhurst Ice Arena, where they will put Sunday’s state championship win in the rearview mirror and look forward towards their next goal, a national championship.

Success didn’t happen overnight for this team, a group that has been working together and remained largely intact for the last three seasons. Each year there have been minor personnel changes with new players replacing departed ones but the biggest change to this group came by way of a coaching change ahead of this season when Patrick Metzger stepped in as head coach. Coach Metzger didn’t need to change too much with this group, a group that has won 25+ games in each of its last five seasons, but what he did change has this group buzzing. “I think, for me, when I took this group over, I wanted to bring the fun back to hockey,” said, Metzger. He added, “it’s a long season and the kids need to know that even if we are hard on them, we still are in their corner, we can be firm one moment and then soft the next.” There is no doubt this strategy has worked for this group who have been playing loose and dominating of late going 7-3 in their last 10 games and outscoring their opponents 50-18 in that span.

This season, the schedule has been the toughest schedule this group has played in their time together and one of the most challenging schedules of any 14UAA team in the country. That strategy paid off in preparing this team for the state tournament as Team Ohio cruised through round robin play outscoring their three round robin opponents by a 28-1 margin. Team Ohio entered the state championship game the favorite and did not disappoint as they dominated the Cleveland Barons posting 54 shots enroute to a, 2-0, win.

State Tournament Recap:

Round Robin Games:

Team Ohio 12 v. Gilmour 0 – Final

Team Ohio 5 v. Columbus Capitals 1 – Final

Team Ohio 11 v. Columbus Mavericks 0 – Final

State Championship Game:

Team Ohio 2 v. Cleveland Barons 0 – Final

Team Ohio 14U players led the way on the scoring leader board which included all players from the 14U, 16U and 18U tournaments. The top four spots belonged to Team Ohio 14 U; Shane Triscari (5G/9A) led the way with 14 points followed by his linemates Graysen Metzger (8G/4A) with 12 points and Woody Wright (3G/7A) with 10 points. Collin Libbey (4G/4A) nabbed the fourth spot with an 8 point tournament performance. Also noteworthy is that Triscari led the tournament in assists with 9 while Metzger led the tournament in goals with 8. On the blue line, Team Ohio boasted shutdown defense all weekend led by their Captain, Nolan Overton (5A) who also managed to tally 5 points. Alex Voll and Tommy Huth shared the net throughout the tournament, but it was Voll who took most of the action over the weekend saving 62/63 shots faced including a 35 save shutout performance in the state final game.

The boys head to New York where they will have a practice on April 2nd at The Harborcenter in Buffalo, NY ahead of their opening round game on April 3rd in Amherst, NY at Northtown Center. To catch all the action, all games can be watched live on USAHockeyTV.

Best of luck, boys.