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Expanded Virginia boys' ice hockey notebook

In Thursday's paper, you can read our boys' ice hockey notebook. In the meantime, here's a Virginia-only version of the notebook that may be of interest.

‘Everything is very positive’ for Centreville

Just 12 months ago, players on the Centreville hockey team practically had to squint to catch a glimpse of the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League leaders.

Not only were the Wildcats stuck near the bottom of the league with a 2-8 record, they were playing as a junior varsity team for the third straight year.

Oh, what a different a year makes.

Despite having only three seniors on this year’s club, Centreville (2-1) is in third place in the NVSHL’s South Division. And with four wins having been stripped from Forest Park for the team’s use of an ineligible player, dropping the Bruins’ record to 0-5, the Wildcats are very much in thick of things.

Contending, though, was not something that Centreville’s players even considered when they initially found out they’d be jumping up to the varsity level.

“When they found out they would be playing varsity, they weren’t real excited about it,” Coach Chuck Ryan said. “But now that they’ve got a couple of wins under their belts, they’re realizing that they can compete at this level.”

Ryan is carrying 18 players on a team that he said dressed only 10 or 11 at times last season, allowing longer breaks between line changes and different options when matching against opponents’ top scorers.

At the forefront has been junior center Shane Kehl, the club’s leading scorer in 2008-09. Thus far, Kehl has a team-high four goals and leads the team with six points. Two additional bright spots, Ryan said, have been junior defenseman Sam Marks and junior forward/defenseman Stephen Ryan, the coach's son.

“Everything is very positive,” said Chuck Ryan, whose team plays Forest Park at 9:40 Friday night at SkateQuest of Reston. “Between the three of them, they’re really pushing the team along.”

Marks has two goals and two assists, while Ryan has chipped in with a pair of assists. Nate Marks is second on the team with five points, including two goals. In net, Kyle Taylor has been solid, allowing seven goals in his two starts -- both wins.

Chantilly struggles to get defensive

Take a look at only a select group of statistics and Chantilly appears to be one of the NVSHL’s dominant teams, an offensive force that other teams struggle to keep in single digits.

While that part may be true -- Chantilly does boast the league’s top three scorers -- there’s another set of stats that have been driving Coach Nate Van Nuys crazy. Though Chantilly has scored a league-best 41 goals this season, the Chargers (1-3-1) have allowed a league-worst 43.

Part of this is because Chantilly is one of only four teams to have played five games -- Madison, Briar Woods and Forest Park are the others -- but part of it has also been the Chargers’ defensive woes.

Before the season, Alex Pease was expected to return between the pipes but transferred out of state, leaving the Chargers without an experienced goaltender.

In Pease’s absence, Greg Stofko and Dylan Harris have strapped on the pads and done an admirable job, Van Nuys said, but they’re still relatively new to the position.

“The guys are lights out right now,” Van Nuys said. “It’s just ridiculous that you look at those stats and we’re still 1-3-1.”

Pete Wydler leads Chantilly and the NVSHL with 18 goals in five games. He also has eight assists for a league-best total of 26 points. Chris Howland (15 goals, 9 assists) is second, while Brandt Soukup has a league-best 14 assists to go with his four goals.

Stone Bridge has outscored its opponents, 36-1. . . . Westfield’s four wins so far have come against teams that are a combined 9-24-6. And things, believe it or not, don’t get a whole lot harder for the Bulldogs. As of Thursday, the team’s next six opponents were 3-12-4. . . . After a season-opening loss to Briar Woods, Oakton has won three straight while averaging more than 10 goals per game during that span.

By Jason Mackey  |  January 7, 2010; 8:28 AM ET
Categories:  Centreville , Chantilly High School , NVSHL , Oakton , Stone Bridge High School , Westfield  
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