Talawanda’s hockey team had a shortened weekend of action but came out a 10-0 winner in their only game on the ice.
First the threat of bad weather forced Findlay to cancel Sunday’s game in Oxford but that still left the Braves with a Saturday evening game with Cincinnati Elder at the Goggin Ice Center. That game ended after only two periods due to Ohio’s mercy rule. The Braves scored seven times in the first period, including two just eight seconds apart, and then scored their 10th goal with only 15.4 seconds left in the second period.
Under Ohio rules, a game ends anytime a team is ahead by 10 goals after two periods. Talawanda coach John Neeb explained that if they had not scored that final goal, they would have had a 15-minute break to cut the ice and the players sit in the lockerroom. Then, they could have come back out and as soon as the Braves scored, it would have ended right then. As it was, they did not have to endure that long between-period wait.
The outcome probably was to be expected. Talawanda has built a solid program, including one state Final Four appearance and Elder is in their first year of varsity hockey.
Talawanda senior co-captain Jake Jackson scored less than three minutes into the game with an assist from Justin McGoldrick. Kyle Engel then scored with 11:36 left in the first period, Thomas Clayton assisting. Before that goal could even be announced over the public address system, the Braves added another goal, this one by Ryan Marks with assists from Jackson and Zach Sens. The two goals were only eight seconds apart.
“Elder is a first-year varsity program and the first year sanctioned by the state,” coach Neeb said. “They are going through growing pains but you will see that program take off. They do not have the experience or depth we do.”
Talawanda scored seven times in the first period, while Elder managed only one shot on goal. Things were a little more even in the second period, but with such a commanding lead, the final outcome was inevitable. The Braves scored with 7:37 left in the second period, again with 1:02 left and then ended it with their goal with 15.4 seconds, Jackson’s second score of the night, prompting the coach to observe, Jake started it and ended it tonight.”
Jackson pointed to the teamwork involved in the win.
“It was a good feeling to get that first goal and the (other) scorers stepped up when they had to,” Jackson said. “We used the rest of the team.”
Goals were spread around for the night. Jackson and Engel were the only players to record two goals. The others came from Marks, Sens, Brandon Tafelski, Wade McQueen, Clayton and McGoldrick. McGoldrick had three assists on the night with Jackson assisting twice. Getting single assists were Clayton, Sens, Marks, Sam Poetter and Andrew Short.
“It’s a good feeling,” Jackson said. “We want to keep getting better.”
Neeb saw his team even its league record with the win and draw closer to .500 at 4-5 on the season overall.
“It’s a league victory,” the coach said. “Elder is new to the state of Ohio and new to the Southwest Ohio High School Hockey League. We have a 2-2 league record now and we’re back in the hunt. When we get space, we’re really good.”
Neeb said the cancellation of the game with Findlay was disappointing because the Braves have a history with them. Findlay is a “good program,” the coach said, adding that his team’s progress can be measured against them. In 2004, when the Braves went to the state Final Four, they had to beat Findlay along the way but, overall, their record is on the minus side against them. They will get to meet Findlay next month at the Martin Luther King weekend tournament in Worthington.
The cancellation, however, would give them an extra practice, Neeb said his team needed.
“We still don’t pass as quickly as we want to,” he said. “We are still developing.”
The Braves travel to Dayton this weekend to take on Alter Friday and Centerville Saturday.