OHSAA pv 2024

There will be a new state champion this weekend when the Ohio High School Athletic Association plays its state hockey tournament at Nationwide Arena, but the four teams who have made the Frozen Four are no strangers to Columbus.

Cleveland St. Ignatius, Hunting Valley University School, Toledo St. Francis and Columbus St. Charles have combined for 43 previous appearances in the state final four, plus 12 all-time state championships.

They’ll be vying to win the 47th annual state tournament and follow in the footsteps of Powell Olentangy Liberty, which won last year’s title to give Central Ohio its first-ever championship but lost in this year’s district final to St. Charles. Meanwhile, St. Ignatius and University School return to Columbus after making the final four a season ago but falling short of the ultimate goal.

This year’s tournament should be evenly matched, with each team romping through its district bracket to make it to Nationwide Arena, and all teams have a number of quality wins on the schedule.

Tournament information follows with capsules of each team below.


Friday, March 8

1 p.m. – Semifinal Game: Toledo St. Francis de Sales vs. Cleveland St. Ignatius

4 p.m. – Semifinal Game: Hunting Valley University School vs. Columbus St. Charles

Sunday, March 10

1 p.m. – OHSAA Championship Game


Both semifinals and the championship game will be streamed live on the NFHS Network, which is available for a $10 monthly subscription. Blue Jackets Radio Network’s Bob McElligott and 97.1 The Fan’s Ryan Baker will call the action during the livestreams of the semifinals and championship contest.

Ticket info

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students (Friday’s ticket is good for both semifinal games). To order, visit Ticketmaster.com. Tickets may also be purchased at The Nationwide Arena Box Office.

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St. Ignatius players Tristan Rutledge and goalie Dominic Filizetti share a moment during a game earlier this year. Filizetti has started 29 games in net this year for the Wildcats.

No. 1 Cleveland St. Ignatius Wildcats (26-8-0)

Anytime St. Ignatius is in Columbus, the Wildcats are a favorite to win it all, and this year’s squad comes in ranked first in the state. St. Ignatius has won six titles since 2010, including four straight from 2016-19, but the Wildcats haven’t lifted the trophy in five years. Last year’s squad ran into the Liberty buzzsaw in the semifinal, a loss that still festers for the Wildcats.

“There’s excitement,” head coach Pat O’Rourke said of the trip to Columbus. “There’s a determination, too, a resolve because we did go last year and lost in the semifinal. I think they feel like maybe there’s unfinished business. ... We’re pretty resilient, pretty persistent. We’ve been trailing in multiple games this year and come back and won some of them. Those are the things I think about when I think about this crew.”brady

State tournament results (Brooklyn region): 14-1 win over Lakewood; 10-0 win over Olmsted Falls; 8-1 win over Cleveland Benedictine; 6-1 win over Lakewood St. Edward

Top scorers: 22 Brady Esenwine (22-54-76); 24 Dario Piazza (32-19-51); 9 Sam Elwell (17-26-43); 12 Justin Frederick (16-23-39); 5 Neal Bartone (16-16-32)

Goalies: 39 Dominic Filizetti (29 games; 2.56 GAA, .916 save percentage); 31 Xander Gendics (6 games; 2.67 GAA, .893 save percentage)

Coach O’Rourke on the matchup with St. Francis: “I’ve been watching a lot of film on them. I think it’s gonna be a really tough game. They have some high-flying forwards. I like a bunch of their defense, too. I don’t know a lot about their goalie because the games I have watched, they haven’t given up a lot of chances. They are always going to be well-coached. I’m expecting a clash of the titans here.”

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St. Francis players celebrate earlier this year with fans. One of the top teams in the state, the Knights have earned their eight bid to the OHSAA final four in the lsat 10 seasons

No. 4 Toledo St. Francis de Sales Knights (24-11-3)

St. Francis has established itself as the dominant program in the Toledo area, winning state titles in 2021, ‘15 and ‘11, and advancing to the title game in 2022, ‘18 and ‘17 in recent years. In all, this is the team’s 14th trip to Columbus and eighth in the past 10 years, but there’s a hunger there for a team that fell short of making it to the Frozen Four a season ago, as evidenced by its 21-1 margin of victory in three tournament games to this point.

“Our identity is just working hard,” head coach Chris Varga said. “Believe it or not, we’re still a young group. I have a few seniors, don’t get me wrong, that do an unbelievable job helping show these younger guys what to do, but basically, it’s just, hey, do their job to the best of their abilities, and that’s what’s got us this far this year.”

State tournament results (Sylvania region): 11-1 win over Toledo Whitmer; 6-0 win over Oregon Clay; 4-0 win over Bowling Green

Top scorers: 10 Andrew Tucker (35-35-70); 12 Jamison Rose (22-35-57); 19 Sawyer Zielenski (22-33-55); 8 Cole Porvaznik (26-23-49); 18 Nathan Kozma (12-22-34)

Goalies: 34 Nick Barkhimer (19 games; 1.99 GAA, .917 save percentage); 1 Riley Kilburn (15 games, 2.92 GAA, .881 save percentage)

Coach Varga on the matchup with St. Ignatius: “They are just deep from their goalies all the way to their fourth line. It’s gonna be a tough order to take them down, but if we work hard and get a couple of bounces, you never know. You gotta play the game.”

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University School captain Sam Wade skates the puck up the ice in a game earlier this season. Wade leads the Preppers with 89 points on the season.

No. 2 Hunting Valley University School Preppers (35-3-0)

The Preppers made it all the way to the title game a season ago but lost to Olentangy Liberty in the final. One of the state’s most successful programs – U-School leads this year’s field with 16 final four appearances but hasn’t won a title since 2009 – will look to atone for coming so close a season ago, and the Preppers already have a 3-1 win over St. Charles in the books this season.

“We obviously had a sour taste in our mouth after the state title game,” head coach Andy Gerow said. “The senior group, this leadership group has taken it from that moment. I can look back all the way to June 6 when we started lifts and summer skates; this group was set and determined to get back to Columbus and finish the job we came one game short of last year. This group, I can say they’re never satisfied. Every day, they show up, and we’ve had an unbelievable season.”

State tournament results (Kent region): 11-0 win over Chagrin Falls; 10-0 win over Stow-Munroe Falls; 5-0 win over Cuyahoga Falls Walsh Jesuit; 8-1 win over Shaker Heights

Top scorers: 21 Sam Wade (54-35-89); 15 Luke Palmer (26-35-61); 10 Luca Garofalo (19-25-44); 11 Anthony Messina (17-21-38); 12 Ryder Beegun (3-35-38)

Goalies: 30 Noah Caballero (19 games; 0.89 GAA, .951 save percentage), 35 Cooper Pettipiece (17 games; 1.78 GAA, .960 save percentage)

Coach Gerow on the matchup with St. Charles: “Watching them on film, it’s what you expect when you get to the final four. They’re a great team. They have forwards who can score the puck, their defense is sound, they’re disciplined, and they take care of their D-zone. They don’t have one great goalie, they have two great goalies. We know it’s gonna take everything in our power in order to beat them.”

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St. Charles players celebrate a goal earlier this season. The winner of the Columbus district, the Cardinals will be making their second state tournament appearance this year.

No. 9 Columbus St. Charles Cardinals (24-11-3)

St. Charles is the new kid on the block this season, as the Cardinals are making just their second appearance in the state final four, with the first coming in 2014. But make no mistake, this is a program with a history of success in the Central Ohio area, and first-year coach Danny Greiner has molded a squad with some high-end talent and two excellent goalies into one of the best in the state.

“I think our (calling card is) our team play, supporting our teammates on the ice, getting open, getting in their positions,” Greiner said. “I think that’s been great, how we can break the puck out easily, regroup easily. I think they really bought into that concept to get back, support their teammates. That’s been a key part of our success, to be able to advance the puck and sustain that pressure and then be able to break through it and get the puck down the ice.”

State tournament results (Columbus region): 16-0 win over Cincinnati Elder; 4-3 (2OT) win over Cincinnati St. Xavier; 6-3 win over Dublin Jerome; 4-2 over Powell Olentangy Liberty

Top scorers: 39 Nick Scharfenberger (28-40-68); 21 Sean Moore (33-25-58); 49 Tommy Scharfenberger (5-32-37); 22 Danny Roncone (9-18-27); 79 Brennan Gough (12-14-26)

Goalies: 41 Dylan Fansler (20 games; 1.86 GAA, .930 save percentage); 33 Bren Gronbach (18 games; 2.40 GAA, .918 save percentage)

Coach Greiner on the matchup with University School: “We played them in January. They beat us 3-1 with an empty-net goal. Their one or two top players were out, so they’ll be a stronger team than we faced. We had some players sick and out, so I think both teams will be at full strength. I know they have Sam Wade on their team, who’s one of the top players in the state. He did not play the last time we matched up against them. He’s one we’re looking out for and we have to be ready for.”

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