CBC coach John Jost liked what he saw from his Cadets in the preseason Top Hat Classic hockey tournament.
The annual Webster Groves tournament has been a way for CBC to begin the high school hockey season for the last 20 years.
The Cadets, who were the Top Hat defending champions, reached the championship game again. CBC again faced Vianney like last fall.
This time, the result was different. Vianney scored a 5-3 victory over CBC.
Still, Jost is happy with how the team is looking so early in the season and he is pleased leading his alma mater back on the ice again for his 22nd season behind the bench.
“It is great to be back at it,” Jost said. “We have a very young and exuberant group that is fun to be around.”
His likes to play in the Top Hat Classic.
“It is an excellent preseason tournament,” Jost said. “It’s a great way to continue evaluating our players in a very competitive tournament. The tournament is well run with a very solid group of teams.”
CBC defeated De Smet 8-0, Oakville 4-0 and Edwardsville 5-1 in pool play in the Orange Conference. CBC was in the Bowtie Division with St. Louis University High and Vianney. In the Cane Division was De Smet, Edwardsville and Oakville.
The Cadets were skating on all cyclinders.
However, he noted a word of caution about the lopsided scores in pool play.
“As far as our pool play, we felt we played very well,” Jost said. “We also understand most teams in the tournament are also playing younger less experienced players as part of the evaluation process. We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves.”
Senior Ryan Yaeger was in goal for the Cadets.
“Ryan Yaeger played very well,” Jost said. “We also have another senior Matthew Smith, who is coming off surgery so he was unable to play. We are looking forward to his return.
“We were the No. 1 seed. We had multiple players that were involved offensively. More important was how well our younger players contributed offensively and defensively. It was a very good sign.”
CBC followed pool play with a 9-0 quarterfinal win over Francis Howell.
“Our depth really wore them down,” Jost said about the win over the Vikings. “I don’t think we saw their best game. They have a good team.”
In the semifinal, CBC defeated Kirkwood 6-2. It was a good effort by his squad, Jost said.
“The Kirkwood game was as always a very competitive game,” Jost said. “Our starting goalie Ryan Yaeger played very well. Our juniors, in particular, Hunter Bulger and Tom Ramer really led us that game.”
That set up a rematch from last year’s championship game. This time, the Golden Griffons ended up with the victory.
“Vianney came out of the gates very strong. They played a very heavy game,” Jost said. “Combine that with some high level skill guys and they are a dangerous team. It was a good test for us that hopefully pays off in the long run.
“I thought our guys reacted well in the third period by coming back to make it a one-goal game. We took that as a positive especially for our younger guys. Most have not played in that type of atmosphere before.”
Although CBC didn’t bring home the first-place trophy, Jost said they bring back many things that will help them this season.
“Despite our tough ending, we have many positives to take away from the Top Hat this year,” Jost said. “We hope they carry over into the regular season. We are very excited to get started for real as the regular season starts.
“It should be a very competitive season up and down the league this year.”
CBC begins Midstates Club Hockey Association play against Lafayette at Affton. Faceoff is at 8:25 p.m. Friday (Nov. 8).