After dominating possession and maintaining a comfortable lead for most of the game, Winston Churchill High School almost allowed Georgetown Prep back in the ice hockey game. Almost.
The Little Hoyas scored two goals in the final five minutes to bring the score one goal away, but they wouldn't get closer and lost to the Bulldogs, 6-5, Monday in Rockville.
It was Churchill's first win against a private school team this year after starting 0-2-1.
“We haven't had too much luck against private schools this year,” senior Connor Martin said. “We're a public school team so people don't really expect us to be top-tier, but I think we're one of the best teams out there.”
For about the first period and a half, Churchill kept the puck deep in its offensive zone to limit Prep's offensive opportunities. Zach Arden and Connor Martin scored first-period goals, and Noah Fleishman and Jacob Arden scored early in the second period to give the Bulldogs and 4-1 lead. Three of those goals came on shots right in front of the net. Jacob Arden's goal was a blast from the face off circle to his left.
“We came out here looking for a win,” Martin said. “When we come into these private school games, we're really thinking we're going to keep up with the teams. We're not just going to play with them, we're going to try to beat them. So when we're down low in their zone, we're just trying to grind it out down there and get goals.”
In an early-season loss to Landon, the Bulldogs kept the game close through the first two periods but the game got away from them in the final 15 minutes.
Though they allowed two late goals, one on a power play goal by Jake Neeb, the Bulldogs still had noticeably more pop in their skates late in the game.
“Against Landon we were missing two big guys and we didn't go hard the entire game. This game it seemed like we were playing hard the entire game,” said Fleishman, who scored his goal on a scrum in front of the net, putting the puck top shelf amid a mass of bodies. “Our stamina is definitely getting better. We're working harder in practice.”
For the Little Hoyas, coach Paul Fritz thinks his team can take a lesson from the loss on playing a complete game.
“We're not going to win games when we only work the last three minutes and 35 seconds, or whatever it was, and they understand that,” said Fritz, who is in his first season coach the Little Hoyas. “They understood that. ... I know it's tough running 10 guys and trying to do that, but they have to push through it.”
Churchill 6, Georgetown Prep 5
Georgetown Prep 1 2 2 — 5
Churchill 2 3 1 — 6
Georgetown Prep — Jack Olson 2, Ryan Holman, Jake Neeb, Ryan Howe
Landon — Zach Arden 2, Connor Martin, Noah Fleishman, Jacob Arden, Ross Allen