JV Ice Hockey: ‘States or bust’ after historic regular season

The season has come to a close, and after 11 games, the boys have accomplished a feat only few teams in the history of Wootton sports- JV or varsity- can brag about: They finished the regular season undefeated.
And it wasn’t even close.
From beginning to end, this team dominated the competition, and as the playoffs beckon, it’s clear that anything short of a championship win will be a let down.
The boys most recently played Bullis on Feb. 9. While their defense wasn’t as stingy as usual, their scoring got the job done yet again, and they pulled off a 7-3 win that capped off their undefeated season. Freshman defenseman Graham Blondes led the team in scoring in this game with two goals. Blondes, who is one of the few freshmen who gets playing time during varsity games, has been electric in the JV league. Over a span of the team’s two most recent games, Blondes has erupted with five goals, and will look to keep his hot hand blazing as the team enters the postseason.
The Patriots defeated Georgetown Prep 9-1 on Jan. 23. Like every other game, the boys dominated from the start and never looked back. The Hoyas posed little competition, especially for Blondes, who netted a hat trick. With the score already at 5-0 by the end of the first period, it was smooth sailing the rest of the way. While it’s impressive that the Patriots are practically clinching games as early as the first period, there’s some reason for concern. If they make it deep into their playoff run- which is expected- and their opponents recognize the stakes and up their level of competition, will this team have the stamina to keep the offense in high gear throughout the entirety of the game? Sophomore goaltender Seamus Graham has trust in the offense that’s been making his job exponentially easier. “We have the depth of a team that can score really late in the third period,” Graham said.
With two-thirds of the game remaining and the opposition already defeated mentally, working on passing and puck movement became the main goal, and the Patriots- riding on the backs of sophomore center Jake Smith and freshman winger Scotty Collinson (two goals each) in addition to Blondes- kept their undefeated hopes alive and well.
The team rolled to a 9-2 win against Richard Montgomery on Jan. 16. It didn’t take long for the boys to get started as they took a 1-0 lead after just one minute thanks to sophomore forward Danny Rothenberg. What followed wouldn’t surprise anyone who has been following the team all season, as shot after shot sunk RM deeper into the ground. After only seven minutes, the Patriots had taken a commanding 6-1 lead, which carried into the first intermission. In an attempt to stop the bleeding, the Rockets opted to call mission control and made a goalie change after the first period.
With all the confidence and momentum on their side, the Patriots stormed into the second period, with senior winger Johnny Reynolds scoring just a minute and a half into the period. With a 7-1 lead, the Patriots- in the spirit of good sportsmanship- cooled their jets and focused their attention on maintaining their lead instead of building it up further. Each team scored once throughout the rest of the period, and entered the second intermission with an 8-2 scoreline.
Leading the team in points was Rothenberg with two goals and two assists, followed by Reynolds, senior winger Sean Lin and junior defenseman Max Jordan with three points apiece. Graham allowed just two goals on 17 shots.
As dominant as the Patriots have been this season, the playoffs are a whole new ballgame. No team is immune to upset, and history has proved that countless times before. That said, the Patriots have unquestionably established themselves as the team to beat, and when comes to how good their chances are of winning it all, sophomore winger Eric Quam puts his opinion simply:
“Very, very good.”

 

Joe Pohoryles

Sports Editor

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