The Varsity Hockey Bombers faced a familiar foe on Sunday night in the 2018 Southwest Ohio High School Hockey League Title Game in the Elder Panthers. Elder finished the regular season with a 13-0-0 record in league play that included a 9-2 win and a 4-1 win over the Bombers to earn the #1 seed in the tournament. St. Xavier finished league play with a 10-2-1 record and finished as the #2 seed and looked forward to the rematch with the Panthers. Elder reached the finals after a 6-3 win over Talwanda in the semi finals while St. Xavier beat Troy 7-1 in their semi final game. The Bombers also were playing to keep the SWOHSHL Trophy as they were looking to win back to back titles after winning it for the first time ever in 2017.
St. Xavier came out from the start very focused and dominated play in the 1st period. Sophomore Noah Reidy got the scoring started with a goal around the 6 minute mark to give the Bombers a 1-0 lead. The Bombers stayed focused for the rest of the period and killed an Elder power play and took that 1-0 lead to the locker room after period one. St. Xavier brought the same intensity into the 2nd period and freshman Nick Langenderfer scored with 8:18 left in the period to make it a 2-0 lead. Elder committed back to back penalties late in the period which gave St. Xavier a 5 on 3 advantage which senior Nick Kaneps capitalized on by scoring with just 8 seconds left on the clock to give the Bombers a 3-0 lead heading to the locker room for the last ice cut. The Bombers made a statement out of the locker room in the last period as they scored two goals within the first 1:30 of the period. It was Reidy who scored his second goal of the game less than a minute into the period to make it 4-0 and then senior Kyle Archdeacon followed with a goal just over thirty seconds later to make it 5-0 Bombers. Senior Tyler Dellerman, who had a hat trick in the semi finals, scored the next two goals of the game on long range slap shots to extend the lead to 7-0. Senior Neil Keyser put the finishing touches on the St. Xavier scoring as he went coast to coast to score to make it 8-0. The Panthers did get on the board with a goal but the Bombers defense continued to be stingy and held onto the 8-1 lead to make it the final score.
The St. Xavier Bombers were presented the SWOHSHL Trophy for the second straight year with the win. The Bombers will now turn their sights to the OHSAA State Tournament where they face Troy HS on Saturday, February 17 at 5:30 pm at Chiller North in Columbus. With a win on Saturday, they would take on Bishop Watterson on Sunday, February 18 at 1:15 pm at the Ice Haus at Nationwide Arena in Columbus. St. Xavier enters the tournament as the #12 seed in the Columbus Regional while Troy enters as #22 and Bishop Watterson is #8.