By Josh Brown
TROY — It was one of the biggest weekends in Troy senior A.J. Noll’s hockey career.
And now he’s the most prolific scorer in Troy High School history as a result.
Noll had a goal and two assists in the consolation final of the Miami Valley Freeze tournament Sunday night, breaking the Trojan hockey program’s career record for points in a 5-3 loss to Northern Kentucky — the same team the Trojans had beaten earlier in the day — at Hobart Arena, giving the Troy a fourth-place finish in the tournament.
And Troy coach Phill Noll said that finish would be what stuck in A.J. Noll’s mind, not the record.
“I think he’d say the same the, the end result is more important to him than the individual things,” the coach said. “It doesn’t take anything away from the accomplishment, to be sure, but he’s a very competitive player. He’d rather help the team win the game.”
Noll had a huge weekend leading up to Sunday’s consolation final, piling up 13 points in three games to tie the career points record. In the tournament-opening 8-3 win over the Beavercreek Beavers Saturday morning, Noll had two goals and an assist. Troy Moore led the Trojans in that game with three goals and two assists, Prestyn Hoeffler had a goal and three assists, Nate Uhlenbrock had a goal and two assists, Caleb Salazar had a goal and an assist and Tyler and Michael Hess, Graham Harvey and John Wehrkamp each had an assist.
Saturday night against Jackson, Tyler Hess had three goals and an assist and hit the 100-point mark in his career, but the Trojans fell short in an 11-7 slugfest. Hoeffler had two goals and three assists and Noll had a goal and four assists to help lead the way, Moore added a goal and an assist and Salazar, Uhlenbrock and Enrique Alejandre each had an assist.
And in Sunday morning’s first matchup against Northern Kentucky, Noll hit the five-point mark again with two goals and three assists to lead the way in a 6-4 victory that put the Trojans in Sunday evening’s consolation final against the same Northern Kentucky team. Alejandre and Wehrkamp each had a goal and an assist, Hoeffler and Tyler Hess each had two assists and Harvey and Uhlenbrock each had one assist.
That performance in Sunday’s early game tied Noll with Julian Scott with 178 career points. Earlier this season, Noll broke the career assists record and entered the consolation final with 99 for his career. Scott still owns the career goals record with 93, Colin Trudeau is in second with 85 and Noll had 79 entering Sunday’s second game.
The fact that Noll set the career assists record before the points one says a lot about him as a player.
“He’s got 101 assists now in his career and 80 goals. He’ll definitely pass the puck when he has to,” Phill Noll said.
In the rematch against the Norse, though, the Trojans (6-7-2) simply didn’t create enough opportunities — and even had a couple taken away.
Northern Kentucky scored a power play goal with 7:10 left in the first to take the lead, but that was the only scoring in the period. And early in the second with Troy on a power play, Uhlenbrock sent in a shot from the blue line, and A.J. Noll tapped the rebound over to Moore to even the score — and officially break the points record. Play was stopped briefly for a ceremony to recognize the achievement.
The Trojans weren’t done, though, as with 12:06 left in the second, Noll followed his own shot, jamming in the rebound to give Troy a 2-1 lead with Harvey and Hoeffler getting assists on the play.
The rest of the second period was sloppy, though, as the teams were whistled for a combined five penalties. With Troy already on a power play, the Trojans appeared to score a third goal — but the officials ruled that the net had come off its moorings before the puck crossed the line. The Norse goalie was called for a delay of game, though, and Troy appeared to have a five-on-three advantage — only to be called for a penalty 20 seconds later, and Northern Kentucky killed off all the penalties.
Parker Smith tied the score for the Norse with 12:32 left in the game, and the Trojans seemed to retake the lead mere seconds later — only to have the officials wave off the goal for a second time in the game.
“That’s a tough one,” Noll said. “But it’s hockey. Things like that are going to happen.”
Charles Allen then scored back-to-back goals for the Norse, ripping in a wrister from the blue line with 7:50 remaining, then scoring again with 7:13 to play to give Northern Kentucky a 4-2 lead.
Uhlenbrock scored with 5:52 to go, rifling the puck in from the point on assists from Noll and Moore to keep the Trojans alive, but Smith scored his second goal of the period with 4:46 remaining, and Troy couldn’t threaten again from there.
“It’s hard to beat a team in back-to-back games, much less on the same day,” Noll said. “I thought our boys played well. They played with heart and gave it all they could.”
Troy has another big weekend in store next weekend — the Trojans host Mason Friday, travel to St. Xavier Saturday and host the Dayton Stealth on Sunday.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 552-2132, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.