End of Season Tourney Wrap-Ups for Thoroughbred High School Hockey Teams

Photo Credit: Jim Wilkinson
Ethan Smith (19) is facing off against the Saint Xavier Tigers.

On the first weekend of March, the Lexington Thoroughbreds Varsity Ice Hockey team played in the Kentucky High School Hockey League state tournament. This year, Louisville hosted the tournament. Due to some of the players being seniors, this would be the last games that the team would play together.

During the first game, the Thoroughbreds faced the Charleston Chiefs, the #3 team in the league. The first period was close, with the Thoroughbreds being ahead for most of it, but by the end of the 2nd period, Charleston gained the edge. Ultimately, the Charleston Chiefs ended up beating the Thoroughbreds 2-5.

Early the next morning, Lexington was back at it again, playing Louisville Metro Ice Cardinals. This game was much closer, with the Thoroughbreds scoring one goal in the first period. It stayed like this the rest of the game, even when Louisville pulled their goalie to get an extra man on the ice. With a 1-0 victory, it was time for them to play Saint Xavier, known as St. X.

The game against St. X was a hard-fought one but ended with a loss for the Thoroughbreds. Many penalties were given out on each side, including a controversial one that ended with a Thoroughbreds senior being kicked out of the game. After three crazy periods of hockey, though, St. Xavier won 0-4 and ended up going to play for 3rd place the next morning.

The Northern Kentucky Norse earned the 2023 Varsity State Title, but this wasn’t the only tournament for Kentucky high school hockey players. The following weekend, the JV team played in the Cincinnati High School Hockey League tournament and saw better results than the Varsity team. This tournament took place in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The JV team’s first game was against the Charleston Chiefs, and Lexington beat the Chiefs 4-1. The Thoroughbreds played a decent game and worked well together. Three of Lexington’s four goals were scored by defensemen. Next, the JV Thoroughbreds took on the Cincinnati Swords and celebrated a 7-1 victory. The last game of pool play resulted in a 2-2 tie against the Troy Bruins Gold team. Lexington lost their last regular season game in February to Troy Gold, so this was a good comeback to that game. Two wins and one tie placed Lexington at the top of their pool in the semi-final game on Sunday morning.

During the semi-final game, the JV Thoroughbreds played the Dayton Stealth and won 4-0. The Championship game would take place just 3.5 hours after the semi-final game started. The Championship game would have the top two teams in the league face each other, the Indian Hill Winter Club Rangers and the Lexington Thoroughbreds. Going into the Championship game, the Thoroughbreds were prepared but were quickly outplayed by the Rangers. By the end of the 2nd period, Lexington was losing 0-4. This started to change in the 3rd with the Thoroughbreds scoring. It was too late, though, and the differential was too big. The game ended in a 1-6 loss, and Indian Hill Winter Club walked away with the trophy.

Seniors who played in the Varsity State Tournament included Kenny Hesselson, Luke McKale, Josh Rivera, Jacob Rienmann, and Lafayette senior Zach Blair. Other hockey players from Lafayette include Elijah Young, Luca Wilkinson, Wyatt Talboo, Reyna Radhakrishnan, and Ethan Smith.