After going through a rough patch in the season just a few weeks ago, picking up losses against Churchill and RM, the hockey team has been back on track after winning their last two games in dominant fashion.
The team took care of business on Dec. 8 against Whitman. Senior Zack Lechner scored two minutes into the game on assists from junior Hunter Band and freshman Nick Billingsley. Lechner has been playing with a wrist injury that occured in the first game, but his productivity hasn’t dropped off. After some more back-and-forth play (that saw Wootton outshoot Whitman pretty easily), Billingsley found the back of the net to make it 2-0 on an assist from junior Eric Quam. Quam and junior Jake Smith both scored on assists from sophomore Zeming Chen to make it 4-0 by the end of the first period.
After Whitman scored in the second period, freshman Daniel Tomashevsky scored one to make it 5-1 at the end of the period.
To start the third period, Billingsley and Band each scored a goal, and each assisted the goal they didn’t score. After Jake Smith scored to make it 8-1 there were more chances for both teams, but no goals resulted. “These last two games have been big for us because it has separated us from the third place team in the standings,” Lechner said.
Sophomore Colin Brick didn’t allow a goal on 16 shots, while the Whitman goalie faced 40 shots.
The game on Dec. 1 against Churchill Varsity 2 was more of the same for the team. Just a minute into the game, Lechner scored a power play to open up scoring for the second game in a row on a rebound from Band. Later in the period, Lechner set up freshman Billingsley for a goal.
The second period went even better for Wootton. Band and freshman Daniel Tomashevsky each scored three goals in the period, while Nick Billingsley’s brother John contributed one goal, to make his total eight in three games. Unfortunately for Nick, he broke his collarbone during the game, which will likely keep him out for the entire season, or at least for the entire regular season at a minimum.
After leading 9-0 after two periods, Churchill made a goalie change, which did not slow Wootton down. Junior Daniel Rothenberg scored a goal right in front of the net on an assist from junior Jake Smith. Soon after that, Lechner picked up his third assist and fourth point on the night by assisting freshman Brett Strauss on his first goal of the night. In the waning seconds of the game, Churchill scored to make it 11-1. “Consistency has been as issue for us this year, and I knew if we followed up the V2 win with another big win then momentum would start building for us,” Band said.
While Wootton and Churchill are tied for the most points in the division, the Bulldogs own the tiebreaker because they have played fewer games, and they beat Wootton in the only meeting so far this year.
Brick had a relatively easy night in net, facing only four shots each period, while the Churchill goalies faced 45 shots. Brick and freshman Riley Jordan have been receiving the vast majority of the starts in goal, and they both have been consistent all year.
The freshman on the team are a big reason for the early season success. There are four freshmen who have at least four points so far this season, and a couple of them have missed game time too. That’s in addition to Jordan making starts in net and playing well.
Unfortunately for both the players and the fans, there was no game on Dec. 15, as Churchill Varsity 2 decided to forfeit. But there are injuries on the team so it gives the players a chance to rest until the next game on Jan. 5 against WJ.
Senior News Editor