The Bears UPSET Gonzaga 2-0 tonight; while beating RP 11-2 was exciting, the score was even more incredible under the circumstances!

 The Purple Eagles came to the Bears’ Den as #1 in the WaPo poll, with 6 straight wins, undefeated in MAPHL and sporting an impressive 17-3-1 record (only losses to teams outside the DMV). If that was not enough of the challenge, Landon was missing an Assistant Captain, Will Buckingham, who was injured, and 4 skaters who were playing for their outside team.

The visitors appeared to have all 18 of its players available. The home team would have had 12 skaters on the bench, but Coach Gammill called up three sophomores from the JV team. The Bears coaching triumvirate (“Buzz” Gammill, “DeBearded” Farnstrom and K. Lubin) devised a strategy against the on paper superior Jesuit skaters of the home team playing strong in their D end, pushing the puck over the blue line, icing whenever appropriate, depend on the goalie and look for a really good O opportunity.

 The Bear skaters followed the instructions to perfection and played with a high of energy in every second of the 45 minutes. Not that the Purple Eagles were overconfident, but they were surprised by the effort of the undermanned home team.

In recognition of the uniform dedication, the names of all of the players are listed below (the seniors in bold, the JV sophs called up in italics) in numerical order

          Orlando Arevalo

                Tommy Crittenberger

Colton Rupp

        Campbell Blue

        Jones Lindner

John Wellington

Jack Sears

Alex Norwinski

Jacob Ruttenberg

Walter Hague

Trevor Wolf

Matt Wellington

Graham Shue (C)

Brian Jordan

Michael Soraci

Sam Kroll


Each and every Bear deserves equal credit for this impressive win. 

The last name on the list was a critical element to the coaches’ strategy. The Bears needed the senior goalie to be a brick wall technically and emotionally. It was expected that the Gonzaga forwards, skilled and fast plus averaging almost 5 goals @ game, would fire many shots at the Bears net. The purple clad team fired an official 42 pucks on goal (the unofficial count was 49) and Mr. Kroll stopped all. Perfect position, great anticipation and a super quick glove hand (particularly this save late in the 3rd period were reasons why he shut out his opponents (the Purple Eagles were held to ZERO once in 21 previous games and that was against Canisius from Buffalo, NY). 

One other name deserves special attention, Graham Shue, who takes his Captain’s job very seriously. Whenever #20 was on the ice, he was flying in both ends of the rink. He gave and took hits. He passed smartly and tested the Gonzaga goalie several times. Late in the last 15 minute segment, he dove to the ice to push the puck towards the Purple Eagle blue line and finally took a big slap shot in his ribs while still on the ice. 

The first 30 minutes were a defensive battle for the Bears, playing tight defense and concentrating on moving the puck out of their D zone. Sam was perfect and all five skaters on the ice played sound positional hockey, checking the opponents with sticks and/or the body and breaking out when they could. 

After 40 minutes a break out pass by Tommy Crittenberger found Graham who in turn found a breaking Jones Lindner, who deposited the puck behind the Purple Eagles’ goalie @9:52 B1 PE0

The battle continued during the remaining minutes with the Gonzaga boys becoming increasingly frustrated as the clock moved inexorably toward 0:00. With a little over a minute left, the G goalie skated to the bench and a 6th purple skater joined the fray. There were moments in which an apparent Purple Eagle advantage seemed to be a sure goal, but a Bear defender would check the offensive stick or Sam would turn the threat aside.

With the Gonzaga net empty, Graham skated out of the Bear D zone, sped by the opposing defenders and buried a long shot into the goal @0:42. B2 PE 0.

 The home team consumed the remaining seconds and skated over to where the Landon fans were watching and there was a collective Ovechkin leap into the boards.

 Much to the credit of the Gonzaga boys they lined up to shake the hands of the Bears. who broke their MAPHL undefeated streak.

 A great win which made a statement for the upcoming MAPHL tournament. 

LAST REGULAR SEASON GAME 2/05 vs. St. Albans at Ft. DuPont @ 4:45pm

Published in: on February 2, 2013 at 7:55 am  Leave a Comment  

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