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Stone Bridge hockey tops Woodbridge, 3-1

When Stone Bridge goaltender Tanner Jones turned aside a breakaway attempt from Woodbridge’s Seve Cordova with 8 minutes 57 seconds left in the first period of Wednesday’s Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League showdown at Ashburn Ice House, he knew that it was going to be a good night.

Roughly 36 minutes later, Jones had the final result to prove it, as he stopped 27 of 28 shots during the fifth-ranked Bulldogs’ 3-1 win.

“That probably gave me the most confidence that I’ve ever had in a game,” said Jones, who improved his record to 4-0 this season. “It worked out well.”

Dillon Miller and Andrew Baron struck less than two minutes apart in the second period to give Stone Bridge a 2-0 lead before Joshua Buckingham scored into an empty net with 21 seconds to go.

Woodbridge’s Dylan Talbot notched the Vikings’ only goal, beating Jones with a wrist shot to his stick side after he was awarded a penalty shot late in the second period while the Vikings were short-handed.

The win helped Bulldogs complete the regular season undefeated at 10-0, having outscored their opponents, 83-7. It also ran their regular season record since the NVSHL’s 2001 inception to an astounding 89-9-1.

Woodbridge (7-2) has now lost two straight after dropping a 7-4 decision to Chantilly last Friday, though the Vikings were missing 12 of 16 skaters -- and both varsity goalies -- because of travel team commitments.

After a hard-hitting first period, Miller converted a feed from Michael Rosenblatt with 9:07 left in the second. Then, with Woodbridge’s Tony Cordova in the penalty box for roughing, Baron gathered a rebound from the right side of the crease and buried it for the two-goal lead.

“I got the puck on my stick, the goalie was down and I put it in the corner,” Baron said.

With 27 seconds left before the end of the second period, Talbot had a clear path to Jones, but Stone Bridge defenseman Patrick Young came from Talbot’s left, dove and took the Woodbridge player with him, prompting the penalty shot.

Woodbridge Coach Mike Strycharz said his team was energized after that goal but was off just a tad in their offensive approach, a point proven when Seve Cordova rang a shot off the post with 8:20 left in the third and the Vikings down a goal.

A second missed opportunity came with 4:49 left in the game, as Jones took a hard shot off the right shoulder and the puck deflected behind him. Luckily, though, teammate Tucker Ross swooped in behind and knocked the puck away.

“I’m not excited whenever we lose, but it’s not like we just laid down and got dominated,” Strycharz said. “It was a good game all around, and I hope we end up seeing them in the playoffs.”

Stone Bridge secured the top seed in next week’s postseason tournament and will face the lowest remaining seed. Woodbridge will be the No. 4 seed. First-round games begin Friday, with the bottom eight seeds in action.

With three NVSHL titles in the program’s storied history, Stone Bridge Coach John Lynch hopes that his talented goaltender can help produce a fourth.

“Some guys will make the easy save look spectacular, but he makes the spectacular save look easy,” Lynch said. “Tanner is our No. 1 guy, and we’re going to ride him as far as we can.”

By Jason Mackey  |  February 18, 2010; 11:07 AM ET
Categories:  Hockey , NVSHL , Stone Bridge High School , Woodbridge  
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