WHEELING - It's fitting that Linsly's first Bob Otten Tournament Championship game was an up-and-down battle against Wheeling Park.
Since the inception of the hockey program at the school, it has experienced its own roller coaster ride in the first decade of existence.
''There was some success in the early 2000s,'' Cadets coach Craig Tredenick recalled, ''but for the last two years, we've struggled. A lot of that can be attributed to the lack of skaters and the numbers itself.''
The Linsly Cadets scored the most goals in school history en route to a 20-9 record and their first Bob Otten Championship.
However, after Tredenick's squad gained some quality players last year, the fourth-year coach decided to evaluate the team's schedule.
''We decided to quit the league we were in and go independent and play private schools,'' he said. ''The schools then came together to form the ISHL.''
Linsly, along with Kiski, Western Reserve Academy, Sewickley Academy and Shady Side Academy were the charter members of the Independent School Hockey League, and, despite having to face tougher competition, the Cadets liked their chances.
''We had a sense we could do well,'' Tredenick said. ''(We knew) a couple of schools were down this year.''
The Cadets' senses proved true as they tore through the newly established conference and claimed the regular-season crown with a record of 7-1. With one championship under their belts, the Cadets turned their eyes to another prize that had eluded them for nine seasons: the Bob Otten Trophy.
Named for the originator of the Wheeling Amateur Hockey Association, the trophy is awarded to West Virginia's top high school hockey team following the state tournament held at WesBanco Arena.
As of now, the state tournament consists of Linsly, Wheeling Park, John Marshall, Morgantown, and Wheeling Central.
''Before this year we had only won one game in the Bob Otten Tournament in nine years,'' Tredenick said. ''Park or Central had won it every year.''
After defeating JM in the semifinals, the Cadets had chance to capture the glory.
''It was a big game for the guys,'' Tredenick said. ''It was exciting.''
Linsly held a 2-1 advantaged before Park flipped the script and went ahead 4-2. The Cadets tied the game at 4-4 to end the second period, and freshman Luke Edgerton gave Linsly back the lead with a goal midway through the third before adding another one later in the period.
Linsly ended its scoring on an empty-net goal for an 8-5 triumph.
Edgerton was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player as he finished the championship game with four goals and two assists.
It was a fitting end for an impressive year for the freshman as he broke the school's individual point total with 102 (50 goals, 52 assists).
''He had a huge year across the board,'' Tredenick said. ''He's already close to the career points record.''
The son of former Wheeling Thunderbird Devin Edgerton, Luke wasn't the only Cadet to put his name in the record books.
Sophomore Drennen Atherton had the most shutout for a goalie (five) as well as most victories for the position (16) and senior Brandon Ross had the most career appearances with 73.
The team also scored the most goals in school history as well as recording the most team victories with a final record of 20-9.
''Prior to this year, that record was 12 (wins),'' Tredenick pointed out.
''The program has really transformed the last two or three years.'' he continued. ''Our two seniors had to stick through some hard times.
''(The team) battled a hard schedule and they never quit They always stuck together and persevered against good opponents. I'm proud of them. They're really, really excited about this. This will be the first of many good, successful teams at Linsly as we move to the future.''
Sixteen of the team's 18 skaters will be back for the 2013-14 campaign.