Crossed Sabres

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Generals hit the ice

Players for the school's club hockey team work hard to win

Team+members+worked+hard+during+a+January+game+against+T.+C.+Williams.
Team members worked hard during a January game against T. C. Williams.

Team members worked hard during a January game against T. C. Williams.

Team members worked hard during a January game against T. C. Williams.

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It was a night where the inside of the rink, even only half-filled with fans, was warmer than the frigid air outside. On January 5, the school’s club hockey team was facing its opponents from T. C. Williams High School. They were just two of the high school teams playing at a busy Kettler Capitals Iceplex that night, taking to the ice immediately after several children’s hockey games.

The team plays in the Capital Scholastic Hockey League (CSHL). The team had been doing well in the run up to the night’s game—earlier in the season, they had beat a budding rival and three-time champion, the team from West Potomac High School. Prior to the game, they had been on a four-game winning streak. “We beat the best team in the league, we know that we can play with anybody,” head coach Matt Seney said. “For us it’s just establishing consistency and coming out and playing at a high level.”

Opposing fans from T. C. and W-L waited in the stands for the game to start, although five years ago they would have been there to watch the same team.

The teams had once been a single merged club. The joint team, called The Blue, played for a few years until W-L was able to assemble a full roster. Coach Seney, having led the team for nearly a decade, has been with the school since around that time. “I think for most of the other people, they weren’t around with that, so it doesn’t have quite that impact,” Coach Seney said, “but it is neat, and I definitely appreciate that opportunity.”

The club team has become popular with many hockey fans at the school. Those students enjoy being able to go to the games, and it can provide a more personal experience than watching on TV. “I like having a school hockey team so that I can actually watch hockey in person somewhere local and easy to get to,” sophomore Zarah King said.

The game began at a fast pace; the first period was a flurry of back and forth action. Until the 12-minute mark, where T. C. opened with a first goal, either team could have just as easily scored. The tide of the game changed, however, as T. C. scored again. The second period ended with a quiet arena and the home team down by two points. The W-L coaches talked in low voices to their players as they stood around their bench in a group.

The second period ended scoreless, uneventful other than a few close calls and loud cheering from the stands when a T. C. player was knocked down to the ice from a strong check. As the third started, though, the W-L team was invigorated. T. C. scored again, but the Generals’ energy paid off, and with 10 minutes left they got the puck past T. C.’s goalie.

The crowd seemed alive for the first time as the goal horn played and victory music echoed through the building. Both the fans and the players were hopeful for their chances. “We really thought we could make it up there,” senior forward Kayla Ehrlich said. “We had done it before, so we were trying our hardest to get back up there with them. We were competitive with them, and we wanted to prove it.”

The game continued to be competitive, W-L still two points down, to the tune blaring on the speakers of “Don’t Stop Believin’.” In the last 30 seconds, both teams were standing at the bench. The game had ended, with a final score of 4-2 for T. C. Fans in the stands still walked down to the glass, though, smiling and greeting their friends. The team thought they could have done better, but were still optimistic. “I think we played well,” senior and captain Will Schmidt said. “We kind of overlooked them; we’ve beaten teams that were more of a challenge than T. C. Williams. We had a lot of potential that we just didn’t play up to.”

The team also plays several games throughout the years against county rival Yorktown High School, despite the fact that Yorktown is a member of the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League (NVSHL). Last year in the final game of the season, the W-L beat Yorktown in a 2-1 victory. They also finished second in the region and was the only teamable to beat the champion, West Potomac.

When asked about their goals for the season, the players and coach all had the same response, summed up by senior and alternate captain Ned Huffman, who said: “Win the championship and beat Yorktown.”

 

Find out more about the team and their schedule at http://www.wlgeneralshockey.com/

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Generals hit the ice