" /> Photos from Friday's game
The Winston Churchill High School ice hockey team played Landon closely through two periods on Wednesday, but the two-time defending Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League champion Bears pulled away in the third period for a 6-2 victory.
It was Landon's first game of the season at Rockville Ice Arena, just a week after starting practices.
“It was a nice test,” Landon coach Chandler Gammill said. “I think as the game built, the guys started gaining confidence. The team's pretty much in a rebuild mode after what we went through the last two years. ... They started to find out who each other was, and that was kind of cool to do it in a game like that.”
The Bears showed that, despite half of their team being newcomers to varsity, they still have plenty of options offensively.
Six different players scored goals — Michael Soraci, Jack Barton, Satchel Clendenin, Graham Shue, Junmo Kim, Jacob Ruttenberg — and Soraci led the team in points with three. Soraci and Kim are freshmen.
“It's good to come back after a state championship and know we can do it again,” Barton said. “For the first game, they really tested us. They're a good team.”
Churchill tied the game at two with 3 minutes, 20 seconds left in the second period. Ian Kwant scored the goal, crossing the blue line on the left wing and taking a wrist shot, which beat Landon goalie Samuel Kroll's glove side.
The tie didn't last long. Thirty seconds later Ruttenberg scored his goal on a wrist shot on a face-off, which appeared to deflect off a defender.
Landon put the game out of reach during a 3:30 span in the final period in which it scored three goals.
The best of the three came from Soraci. Playing on the penalty kill unit, the freshman forward gathered the puck after a Churchill defender fumbled a pass and slipped in the neutral zone. Soraci gathered the puck for a breakaway. He faked a slap shot from about 10 feet out, moved right, made a few quick moves and buried the puck behind a drawn-out Noah Kalicka.
“That was a beauty,” Gammill said. “There was a freshman playing his first game and he was poised, he was calm and was able to finish the task. That right there was sort of the confidence builder, not just for him, but for the rest of us because that ignited us and got us going at the end.”
Churchill took the game as a learning experience.
“They turned up their intensity level and we didn't,” Churchill assistant coach Sam Mrvos said. “They were hungrier for pucks. We weren't. That's something we need to adjust to.”
LANDON 6, CHURCHILL 2
Landon 1 2 3 — 6
Churchill 1 1 0 — 2
L — Kim Junmo (Michael Soraci)
C — Philip Satin (Ross Allen)
L — Jack Barton (unassisted)
C — Ian Kwant (unassisted)
L — Jacob Ruttenberg (Satchel Clendenin)
L — Graham Shue (Michael Soraci)
L — Michael Soraci (unassisted)
L — Satchel Clendenin (Alex Norwinski)
Landon — Sam Kroll 27
Churchill — Alex Chen 14, Noah Kalicka 16