Landon wins third straight IAC hockey title -- Gazette.Net


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After a tiring first period in which it stopped two 5-on-3 power plays, the Landon School ice hockey team regrouped in the third period to beat Bullis, 4-2, for its third consecutive Interstate Athletic Conference championship.

Sam Kroll made 29 saves for the Bears, Graham Shue scored two goals, including one on an empty net, and Colton Rupp scored the game-winning goal with 5 minutes, 8 seconds left in the third period.

“It feels awesome,” Kroll said. “When we started this season off, me, Graham and {William] Buck[ingham], we sat down with the team and we said that we have two goals: to win the IAC and the MAPHL again. That’s the only thing we’re used to. That’s the only thing we’ll accept. So to do it — we faced a little bit of adversity during the year and we tied Bullis — it’s sweet man. It’s awesome.”

Landon was in control early, maintaining possession in its zone for the first two minutes of play when freshman Brian Jordan scored the first goal.

Less than a minute later, Landon took its first penalty and soon after took another, putting them two men down for 1:27. Bullis took five shots, all five which were blocked by Kroll. With 5:39 left in the period, the Bears were again down two men and, again, killed the penalties.

“Those penalties put us in the hole early,” Landon coach Chan Gammill said. “We had to spend some legs to kill off those penalties, which hurt us. We couldn’t keep our rhythm of going four lines deep. And I do, I really think that hurt us through the second period. Having that intermission between two and three gave us a chance to get our legs back and to be able to roll lines in the beginning of the third period. It was awesome.”

Kroll allowed both of Bullis’ goals in the first period when he was under the most pressure. With 1:10 left in the game, Kroll turned away a potential tying shot by Josh Foreman (goal). Foreman skated in on a breakaway and Kroll slid to his right to make a pad save.

“Sam’s honestly been the anchor of our team since day one,” said Shue, the Bears’ captain. “When he’s on, we’re on. The whole team’s on. Without him we’d be a different team. He really, truly is the anchor of our team and we ride on his momentum.”

After Shue tied the game in the second period, the Bears went into the break knowing they needed to make changes. The coaches didn’t say anything, leaving it to the players.

The Bears settled down and played more like a team in the third period, most notably on their power play. Through two periods, the Bears tried to make cross-ice passes with a man up. But Bullis stayed tight in its zone and rarely allowed those passes to connect.

In the third period, the Bears started ripping shots at the net from the blue line and it worked. During a power play late, John Barton slammed a shot from high in the slot. It barreled into a group of defenders and came out to Rupp, who flipped it past Bullis goalie David Harrison (21 saves), who was drawn out for the initial shot.

“We realized it wasn’t working,” Barton said. “We realized our best shot was to get it on goal and get a dirty goal with the rebound. So we did it and it worked.”

Added Rupp: “I was just in the right place at the right time for the rebound. I got it, put it five hole as quick as I could and then after that it was crazy.”

This isn’t the end of the road for the Bears. They begin their quest for a third-straight Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League title on Tuesday when they face Georgetown Prep, which the Bears beat, 7-2, in the IAC playoffs.

“We’re happy with this win. We’re going to celebrate a little bit this weekend,” Shue said. “But, honestly, we have to look forward to next week because that’s the big championship we want to win and that’s been our number one goal all season.”

cstevens@gazette.net

Landon 4, Bullis 2

Landon 1 1 2 — 4

Bullis 2 0 0 — 2

Landon (14-3-2): Goals: Graham Shue 2, Brian Jordan, Colton Rupp

Bullis (9-4-1): Goals: Josh Foreman, Vitaliy Nosov