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Ice Hockey Notebook

Reversal of Fortune For St. Albans
A year ago, St. Albans was mired in a 10-game losing streak for seven weeks and finished the season 5-14. But this year, the No. 6 Bulldogs are the surprise of the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League, going unbeaten in January until a 7-1 loss to No. 1 Landon on Wednesday.

Last Friday was the team’s watershed triumph, a 1-0 win over defending MAPHL champion Calvert Hall in which junior goalie Chris Smith (23 saves) and defensive stalwarts Eric Sade, Sean Heaslip and Will Stabler held off Calvert Hall for 44 minutes, preserving Dan Sade’s goal in the game’s second shift.

“Walking out of that rink with the win, now I think they believe they can get over the hump,” St. Albans Coach Dan Ryan said. “For our guys to hang on for 44 minutes gave them some confidence.”

Several factors have contributed to the complete turnaround. Freshman forward Taylor Dremluk has provided an offensive spark; defenseman Stabler is back after spending most of last hockey season studying abroad. Smith, a kicker on the football team, is healthy now that a football-related injury has healed; scoring is up, led by Henry Sisson and Ryan Dougherty, who had hat tricks in wins over O’Connell and Bullis this past week.
The next seven days will be grueling for the Bulldogs, who face No. 2 Georgetown Prep, Landon once again, and Mount St. Joseph to wrap up the regular season. Those teams are a combined 29-11-4.

Vikings Topple Defending State Champions
Whitman found itself trailing league rival and two-time defending league champion Wootton last Friday after Patriots junior Josh Bretner scored less than four minutes into the game, but the Vikings responded in a big way. Zach Wolfe, Seth Butler, Dan Berman, Nick Girard, and Lucas Karron scored consecutive goals spanning the first and second periods, and by the time the barrage was over, the Vikings had secured an eventual 6-2 victory that forged a first place tie with Wootton and Churchill in the MSHL Montgomery Division.

Butler’s goal came on the power play, and there were plenty of extra-man situations: the game featured 17 minor penalties (mostly cross-checking, roughing and interference), 10 against Wootton, seven against Whitman.

Whitman had come close to beating its county rival the past two seasons, but, in the words of Coach Thomas Sneddon, "could never quite close the deal". Sneddon reminded his players that while this regular-season win was satisfying, there is still much hockey to be played -- perhaps even against Wootton in the playoffs, which begin mid-February.

"They are still the champs, it wasn't a playoff game and until someone takes them out of the playoffs they are still the favorites to win the whole thing," said Sneddon. "We like where we are positioned right now in the standings, We think we are playing some of our best hockey now coming down the stretch."

Whitman outshot Wootton 34-16 and held Bretner, one of the MSHL's most talented players, to just one goal. He came into the contest averaging three goals per game. the Vikings finish the season against Walter Johnson on Friday and Damascus on Feb. 5.

By Dave Yanovitz  |  January 27, 2010; 11:10 PM ET
Categories:  Ice Hockey , MSHL  
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