Viva Loudoun Intern
Ashburn (Dec. 26, 2013) – Stone Bridge High School trounced Ashburn rival and defending NVHSL ice hockey champion Briar Woods, 6-2, in their much anticipated regular season match-up on Dec. 20, leaving the Bulldogs the only undefeated and untied team in the league. The victory for Stone Bridge was especially sweet, due to the fact that their only loss in 35 games (dating back to 2011) was to the Falcons in the semifinals last year.
Both teams, viewed as the best in the area, have been NVHSL champions for the past three years and boast impressive records, Stone Bridge being currently undefeated at 5-0-0 with Briar close behind (4-1-0). Briar Woods won the 2013 championship while Stone Bridge won in 2012 and 2011, including a win over Briar Woods in the 2012 finals.
Stone Bridge came out hot in first period with two goals each by Cade Groton and Ryan Leibold and goal by Griffin Vosbeck. The Bulldogs got two assists from Michael McDonlad and an assist each from Leibold, Nick Kaufman, Morgan Dice, and Luke Giroux and Michael McDonald.
Briar Woods was tagged with a huge penalty in the first period with two of their starting forwards in the box for 10 minutes, giving the Bulldogs a power play for most of the period.
“We didn’t expect to come out with two goals that early, the penalties on Briar really helped us out get the cobwebs out and get ready for the game,” Groton said.
The Bulldogs continued to put points on the board throughout the second and third periods with a goal on an odd man rush and a slap shot by Andrew Sabol from point to beat the goalie glove side.
“I think we surprised them, I think they thought they were going to beat us easily but we jumped on them and got the crowd involved helping us more,” Pouliot said.
Briar Woods stayed tough throughout the match with goals by Justin Plumhoff and Zach Regester. Plumhoff utilized his hands and stick skills to walk around the defense.
Bulldog goalie Colin McNelis was a brick wall on a penalty shot, stopping a decent attempt at a backhand by Briar Woods.
Because most of the players from Briar Woods and Stone Bridge are on the same travel league team, they found facing off against teammates to be a unique experience.
“It’s funny to play against the kids on Briar because it gives us much more bragging rights in the room, we’re able to joke with each other during practice before the games,” goalie Martin Trivieri said.
From a coaching standpoint, having all of the players on both travel and high school teams is a huge advantage because of the extra practices and familiarity that comes with years of exposure to the ice. The coaches have more time to work with the players and practice key plays.
“It’s a big advantage for me because I coach them all on the Ashburn Extreme travel league,” Pouliot said. “They all play for my U16 team which is ranked No. 2 in the country, so it’s great I get to see them all.”
The Falcons vs. Bulldogs showdown proved that both teams are talented and hungry again for the championship title. If both teams continue their play, there could potentially be a second round on the rise in the playoffs like the last two seasons.
“The outlook for the season is always the same, try to win every game and win the championship,” Pouliot said. “I’m sure we’ll see this team again and hopefully play them in the finals.”
Jackie Howell is a senior at Stone Bridge High School