Landon Hockey 7 Georgetown Prep 4 by Dan Buckingham

Repeated Defending IAC Champions Landon Bears versus Georgetown Prep

With significant snow eminently to commence in the local and regional forecast The Landon Bears rambled out of their Bethesda classrooms to once again board a Landon battlewagon to return them to their Rockville Ice Den to engage with their deeply regarded and worthy GP Hoya opponents for the complete full share of the 2013-14 IAC Hockey Championship.

While in the course of a war there are battles and skirmishes there are also victory leading campaigns. While Landon and Prep had faced off only shortly ago just last Friday, due to a number of weather and schedule conflicts the Landon Bears gathered again for their 5th hockey major game in seven days. Only this past weekend separated their 5 days of intense competitive play, including 4 of the 5 games against two testy rivals. Also there are some Landon players that play over the weekends for travel hockey teams. No rest for the weary.

The results speak for themselves in that Landon coaches had their players playing at a high output level with very narrow, minimalist, recovery time. It is also important to note that Georgetown Prep played tenaciously yesterday against St. Albans, winning in overtime to earn their ascension for the this year’s IAC Championship Final. Yet the Bears had the strain of 2 games against Bullis and 1 against Calvert Hall in the past 7 days duration in which Prep and Landon would again skate against one another.

As time arrived for commencement of today’s IAC Championship spirited student spectators from both Landon and Prep assembled in waves into the Landon Bears’ Den. The Prep Hoya players had their Citadel Blue visitor sweaters with Gray and White while the Bear’s had their home White sweaters and golden brown trim and pants. The puck was dropped at 4:09 PM and within a few blinks of one’s eyes the puck was carried into Landon’s defensive zone and @ 14:20 Prep #10 fired a dart from the pass from #23 into the back of Landon’s net for first blood and to go up 1-0 Prep. Indeed this appeared to be a different Bear/ Hoya battle from last Friday. Shouts of support rang out from both student bodies and then with Landon carrying the rock into Prep’s defensive zone Alex Norwinski and Matt Wellington assisted in delivering the puck to Ben Gilbert for a tying Landon goal @13:37, only 47 seconds of elapsed game time after Prep’s very stirring goal.

Play by both teams was very fluid but this time Prep’s play was both more controlled and scrappier in defensive play, not as in attitude from last Friday’s game. Even still as the period rolled forward Landon maintained more control, and if not for many successful Prep blocked shots by both their sticks and legs, Landon would really dominate. Yet Landon started to turn the game play tide by two more first period goals. Landon scored their second goal @ 11:24 with an unassisted net ripper by Colton Rupp. Then @ 6:51 from a face off in Prep’s defensive zone Walker Hague sent a well-placed back pass to Jacob Ruttenburg who deftly one timed the disc into the back of Prep’s net. There was a Landon power play @ 4:17 but the Hoyas successfully killed it. The 1st Period concluded with Landon leading 3-1 with shots on goal 12-9 respectively and all goals by both teams scored at even strength.

The 2nd Period started as a repeat of the first period with Prep’s # 13 scoring @ 13:53 with an assist from #5, again at even strength. Then at 13:14 the Bears returned to the power play after Prep’s young, compact and skilled #9 was sent to the sin bin for slashing. Jack Barton intercepted a Prep pass near the blue line whereupon he nimbly deked two Prep defenders scoring an unassisted Bear power play goal @ 11:34 to spin up the score to 4-2, with the return of a two goal difference favoring the Bears close to half way through the championship final. The dark blue Prep players sensed game score gap separation and dug deep. Shortly @ 10:34 Jacob Ruttenburg made a reasonable play with his stick on the Prep player with the puck and, while puck contact was made, so was contact with the Hoya’s skate resulting in the player being parallel to the ice rather than perpendicular and stripes blew his whistle with a raised arm. The Prep power play was almost killed when @ 9:33 Prep captain # 24 scored with an assist from #13. With score then 4-3 favoring Landon play went into somewhat of a lull with a lot of transition turnover. Then Prep started to ratchet up their play and at 4:08 two Prep players missed close by open Bear nets. However, @ 2:23 with both teams even, Prep successfully executed finish to scoring the game tying goal by #5 with assists from assistant captain #10 and their captain #24. Just as the game play had been taken over by Prep, several veteran Bears combined for great team hockey play when Tommy Crittenberger connected a sweet pass to Campbell Blue who dished the disc to Bear Captain Jack Barton whose sniper shot rang true for the return of a Landon lead 5-4. This is how the period ended with SOGs favoring Prep 10 to 9.

Dueling Zambonis cleaned the feathered ice and dispersed water for new clean ice in the intermission between the 2nd and 3rd periods. Both play and vociferous fan cheers commenced with the drop of the puck. Early on Prep went on a power play at 14:31 with a called tripping penalty on Colton Rupp. The Bear’s penalty killers’ led by their truly Number 1 PK player, Sean O’Brien who successfully killed the two minutes for this supposed infraction. Play was balanced with both teams pressing tightly for this year’s IAC Hockey banner. Jones Lindner continued to win face offs. Then at 8:29 Prep #21 was called for interference. Landon’s skillful veteran defensemen teamed together and with Alex Norwinski’s nifty pass to Brain Jordan a Bear power goal was aptly earned to once again return Landon to a two goal cushion 6-4. As the clock ticked away Prep played this time with controlled desperation and then at 4:38 little Hoya #12 was called for a flagrant cross check against Jack Barton, who game wide was targeted for crunching checks and stick whacks. Prep killed this penalty and then at 2:30 with the Bear’s net somewhat open a nearby Prep player missed his strike.

Intense play heated up to a boil. Shortly afterward, with big time Prep pressure down at Landon’s goal, Trevor Wolf, at 1:50 remaining, went down to the ice to make a huge body block on a well teed up Prep slap shot. At 1:40 Prep’s coach signaled for a time out. When play resumed again at the drop of the puck in Landon’ defensive zone, Prep’s goalie scurried to the bench and a sixth Hoya skater was added. Then after only 3 seconds Stripes once again blew his whistled with a raise arm and directed Brian to the penalty bench for roughing. Lively 6 skaters play against 4 mobile Bear defenders ensued with Landon earning a break when Colton Rupp passed the puck to an open Campbell Blue who deposited it into Prep’s empty net for the night’s second Bear “shorty” goal and advancing the score 7-4 in favor of the Bears with only 0:23 remaining. These remaining 23 seconds ticked away securing both another Landon Bear Hockey victory over Georgetown Prep as well as another repeat as IAC Hockey Champions.

Celebrated joy was shared and showered amongst Landon players and fans, including many Landon educators, parents and highly enthused headmaster. This newly earned IAC championship was won with strong team and unselfish play committed to team first concept. This year’s Bear Hockey team has benefited well from the strong and wise skill craft passed onto the players from Coaches Gammill and Farnstrom. It is also incumbent for this writer to underscore the incredible emergence of stingy and effective goalie play, while remaining cool, calm and collected. Coach Anas commented that Sean O’Brien made a pretty decent initial adjustment to varsity play in his first year but he continued to listen, absorb, and evolve his play to coaches instructions with a breakout coming forth only last month. Well done Sean! Dan Buckingham ‘75

THANKS, Dan for such an excellent report. Dan has written in the past and writing now after his son has graduated shows his love of Landon.

Published in: on February 13, 2014 at 7:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

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