The Patriots came off a loss going into the matchup against the Walter Johnson Wildcats on Dec. 6. This was a challenge as WJ held second place in the standings. The Patriots, however were ready for the task.
The game started out rough as the Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead. WJ has a high powered offense, leading Montgomery County in goals scored through seven games, so they are used to jumping out to an early lead. The first period ended and the Patriots were dominated.
Part way through the second period the team went on the power play from an undisciplined play from the Wildcats. With a 2-0 deficit the Patriots knew they had to find the back of the net. Freshman Connor Harris sent a pass to senior Scotty Collinson, who fed the puck to junior Brett Strauss for a beautiful power-play goal. This tightened the game and put some added pressure on both goalies. “I felt like I needed to save everything that came my way,” senior goalie Colin Brick said.
However, less than a minute after the Patriots’ goal, the Wildcats came back and scored. This was a huge let down as the guys were just getting their confidence back and hoping to tie it up. The second period ended with a 3-1 score. “We needed something to get us going, something that would change the energy and momentum,” junior center Nick Billingsly said.
The Patriots started the third period differently than the rest of the game. They seemed faster and more competitive. Coach Alex Parker wanted to change the tempo to try to shift the game in favor of the Patriots. Within the first two minutes the Patriots scored two goals to tie the game.
Sophomore Nathan Barrow scored with an assist from junior Jason Liu and then less than a minute later Strauss scored an unassisted goal.
The game was tied and both teams had chances to score. The goalies on both sides were playing stellar and not letting anything past them, until Strauss once again broke through and scored with five minutes to go. The Patriots took the 4-3 lead.
They went defensive because they could not give up a last minute goal. They shut down the Wildcats for the remainder of the game, and won 4-3. The win was a huge one as the boys took the second spot in the Montgomery County standings and held a great scoring team scoreless in the final period. “It felt good to score three, and be able to win a huge game for us,” Strauss said.
This was a big step in gaining confidence for the Patriots. “I never feel like we are out of a game, we always have a chance,” junior defenseman Daniel Tomashevsky said.
Wootton moved to 4-2-0, which is a big step in catching rival Churchill. They play their next game tonight at Rockville Ice Arena against the BCC Barons.
Overall, it’s been a strong start to the season for the Patriots. They have a new team but Coach Parker has been amazing so far in giving this new team the confidence that they can be as good as last years team. The hype coming into the season was not as high as it has been in the past years, but the team is slowly forcing students to come watch their games because of how well they are playing together.