The holiday season was a bit tough on the Talawanda Braves hockey team as they lost two games and won one, but the good news is that the one win was a league game giving them a league-best record of 5-2 in the standings.
That win was a 7-2 road victory over Elder at the Cincinnati Gardens Sunday, Jan. 2.
Both losses were to non-league foes in close games, 8-6 to St. Charles school of Columbus on Dec. 27 and 4-3 to Upper Arlington on a buzzer-beater shot Dec. 22.
The win over Elder Sunday ran the Braves’ record to 5-2 in the Southwest Ohio High School Hockey League—the best overall mark. Talawanda jumped to a commanding 3-1 lead in the first period on goals by Tommy Clayton, Mason Miller and Brandon Tafelski and then extended that lead to 5-1 in the second period as Zach Sens and Justin McGoldrick added markers. They finished off the Panthers in the third period as McGoldrick and Miller each scored a second time in the game.
Clayton had two assists in the game and single assists went to Sens, Miller, Tafelski and Kyle Engel. Andy Sens stopped 17 shots in goal for the Braves and Mitch Poetter made his first appearance in the net this season, stopping two shots in the third period.
The win gave the Braves an even 7-7 record on the season to go along with their 5-2 SWOHSHL mark.
Talawanda fell to St. Charles at home on Dec. 27 after leading 6-4 late in the third period. A series of penalties and short-handed miscues by Talawanda led to four straight third-period goals by St. Charles, including the game-ending open-net marker to put the game out of reach in the 8-6 Braves loss.
Talawanda built their lead on two goals each by Jake Jackson and Zach Sens and single goals by Ryan Marks and McGoldrick. Tafelski was credited with two assists while Wade McQueen, Clayton and McGoldrick each added solo assists.
Even more heartbreaking than that loss may have been the one five days earlier when Talawanda traveled to Upper Arlington and fell 4-3 on a buzzer-beating shot to end the game 4-3.
Talawanda scored the first two goals of the game to take what seemed like a commanding lead, but Upper Arlington battled back with three scores in the second period for a 3-2 advantage. After the long scoring drought, Talawanda came back with a tying goal late in the third period, setting the stage for the final winning UA score.
Scores for Talawanda came off the sticks of Jackson, Marks and Clayton with two assists from McGoldrick and single helpers from Zach Sens, Tafelski, Sam Poetter and Mitch Poetter. Andy Sens stopped 32 shots which helped the Braves keep the game within reach.
The Braves will play twice at home at the Goggin Ice Center this weekend against state-ranked opponents. Dublin Coffman will be in on Friday, Jan. 7, for a 7:15 p.m. game and Toledo St. John’s will visit Saturday, Jan. 8, for a 6 p.m. game.