Adam Pfeiffer ‘20
Last year, the hockey team had an incredible season, only losing one game en route to beating Northwest in the county championship, 5-1. Now, they face the formidable task of defending that title. The boys opened the season with a 9-4 win over Blair on October 27. Unfortunately, the post championship hangover was well and alive. Tough times followed, as they lost their next five games against Rockville, Wilson, Poolesville, Damascus, and the DC Stars.
“I think we’re still a little caught up in being champions and it’s definitely a lot to play up to,” said senior Steven Blum.
The boys rebounded strongly on Dec. 7 dominating Walter Johnson 10-1. Senior Sam Rudnick and Blum led the Warriors, with Rudnick scoring four goals and Blum netting two. Blum and Rudnick are not alone, as fellow seniors Alec Hurley, Matt Postorino, Dylan McDermitt, and Joe Diuguid have all stepped up. Blum believes that freshman Christian Winckler is a player currently flying under the radar who may contribute as the season moves on.
The team hoped to build off of the WJ win against the DC Stars on Dec. 18, but ultimately fell 4-1. They aim to win a rivalry game against Blake on New Year’s Day, and then against Damascus on Jan. 11. There is a clear idea of what needs to be done, and how to do it. “We just need to stick to the game plan and not get dragged into playing defense the whole game . . . especially against Damascus who plays a dirty, physical game; we need to not retaliate,” said Blum.
The defending champs intend to have turned to corner on the season, and aim to win another championship, but before they can even think of it, they need to focus on refining and perfecting their game. This includes simple things such as puck movement, which will allow for more shots and success scoring. Controlling the puck will also take the pressure off of the defense and goalie, limiting opponent’s shots and scoring opportunities.
Early struggles can damper a team’s confidence, and the team is no different. Blum hopes that the team can build off the WJ win and regain some of the confidence that allowed the championship.
Ultimately, the boys have full control of their season, but fortunes need to change soon, simply from a mental standpoint. There is little doubt that things will continue to rise, building momentum for a possible playoff run.