JV Hockey: Offensive firepower eclipses pourous defensive unit

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In practically any sport you can think of, there comes a point in the season when a team finds a tightly-packed slew of games thrust upon them, forcing them to do nothing else other than overcome their physical and mental fatigue.  With the JV ice hockey team coming off four games in six days, there’s no question that their December stretch falls under that description.The boys got ice-meltingly hot early in the season, starting 3-0. Despite their cramped schedule, they managed to keep their season on the right track.

The team beat Churchill for the second time this season by a score of 9-7 on Dec. 17. Any game against Churchill is one to mark on the calendar, but this particular game was even more special because it was played at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C., home of the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals. “The fact that we were playing on the same ice as the best players in the world was pretty cool,” sophomore center Jake Smith said.

Their attacking capabilities were on full display, but their defensive unit drew reason for concern. The boys’ high octane scoring should keep them afloat in the short term, but if the defense doesn’t patch up soon, it could cost them a deep run into the playoffs.

Their grueling stretch of the season started against Blair on Dec. 15, where the two sides settled for a 4-4 draw. The game started strongly in the Patriots’ favor, as they led 2-0 at the end of the first period thanks to goals from sophomore winger Eric Quam and senior winger Alex Byck. Blair responded in the second period, scoring two goals of their own making the game deadlocked heading into the third period. “I don’t think we took enough shots,” sophomore defenseman Alex Cohen said.  “We didn’t play enough [defense] or that kind of jobbie.”

Both Blair and the Patriots traded shots in the third period, with Blair striking first, briefly taking a 3-2 until just 40 seconds later when Byck tallied his second goal of the game and drew the score level again. Blair tacked on their fourth goal with under three minutes left, and it looked like they would walk away with a win. Instead, junior center Ethan Heiberger, who had assisted both of Byck’s goals earlier in the game, saved the Patriots from taking their first loss of the season by netting the tying goal with just about a minute and a half remaining. Despite narrowly escaping a loss, the team was overall dissatisfied by their performance.

The Patriots most recently played Walter Johnson JV 2 on Dec. 19 followed by Walter Johnson JV 1 on Dec. 20, but both were played too late to be covered in this issue.

Joe Pohoryles

JV Sports Editor