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Woodbridge and Herndon advance to NVSHL final

There was more to Wednesday's Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League semifinals than what appeared in Thursday's paper.

In the first semifinal, Woodbridge upset No. 5 Stone Bridge at Ashburn Ice House, getting a pair of short-handed goals to secure a 6-3 win. Winger Dylan Talbot had a hat trick, while center Tony Cordova had a goal and three assists.

These two, along with winger Seve Cordova, comprise Woodbridge’s top scoring line, which has accumulated 72 points this season, earning the nickname of “Golden Boys.” Apparently the trio had also tried the “Diamond Boys,” but it didn’t stick.

Which seemed to be a common theme, I found out.

Around 3 p.m. Wednesday, Talbot and the Cordova twins went to Panera Bread and all three unknowingly ordered the ever-popular You Pick Two combo, choosing a chipotle chicken sandwich and broccoli and cheddar soup.

Without getting too graphic, let’s just say that the food, though tasty, was more of a rental.

“It was rough,” said Seve Cordova, who had a goal and an assist against Stone Bridge. “That just didn’t settle right, I guess.”

Talbot scored the Vikings’ first two goals before Stone Bridge tied it with goals 20 seconds apart in the second period from Conor Donovan and Brian Bock. From there, Taylor Bachmann scored on a dump-in, Tony Cordova snapped a shot over Stone Bridge goaltender Tanner Jones’s blocker and completed a beautiful spin-o-rama feed to brother Seve, producing a 5-2 lead for Woodbridge.

After Andrew Baron struck for Stone Bridge, Talbot beat Jones for a third time and skated backwards toward his bench, pointing a finger toward the Stone Bridge student section.

“They get on your nerves, but there was just a lot of adrenaline,” Talbot said. “Nobody thought we were going to win.”

In the NVSHL championship game, scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, Woodbridge will play Herndon, which scored a 5-4 win over Herndon at SkateQuest-Reston. The victory puts Herndon in the league title game for the first time in program history.

Following a game-tying goal from Langley’s Chris Diner with four-and-a-half minutes to go in the third period, Herndon’s Ville Rutanen deked a rifled a shot past Langley goaltender Brett Hatfield, who made several outstanding stops.

I could describe the goal, but I think it’d be better to led Herndon’s Max Kortegast have the floor. So, Max. It’s all yours.

“Ville curled down and [linemate] Sam Stone threw the puck out of our zone,” Kortegast said. “He made a nice move at the blue line, and I almost called for the pass. But then I was like, ‘Forget it, man. He’s got a breakaway.’ Ville just made a sick shot. I saw the hole. He saw the hole. And he just put it in the net.”

Said Rutanen, “We just kept pushing and pushing and finally we broke through. “

After scoring the Hornets’ first two goals, Stone completed his hat trick with 11:23 left in the third period and two Langley players in the penalty box. The three goals also pushed him ahead of Kortegast with 25 goals this winter.

“I just really wanted it, so I was letting the pucks fly at the net and not letting the defense intimidate me,” Stone said.

Before last season, Herndon had not eclipsed the .500 mark during its previous eight seasons as a member of the NVSHL. But after finishing the 2008-09 campaign at 10-2 and reaching the league semifinals, Herndon has taken its game to another level this season.

“I don’t think anybody thought we would be able to repeat what we accomplished last year,” said first-year Coach Robert Hubble. “We’ve re-written the Herndon record books, and hopefully with one more game, we’ll completely seal the deal.”

That one game, though, will be tough. Both Herndon and Woodbridge have extremely talented top lines, with the “Golden Boys” set to take on the Rutanen-Kortegast-Stone grouping from Herndon.

Woodbridge has more of a history of success in the NVSHL, with a 66-13-3 record since its first season in 2003. The Vikings are also buzzing after an upset win over Stone Bridge. But Herndon senses its window of opportunity, with Rutanen, Kortegast and Stone set to graduate after this season.

With plenty of offense likely to be on display at Kettler, the outcome, oddly enough, could be decided by the two goalies. Herndon will look for Bryan Kadlec, who made 36 saves against Langley, to continue his red-hot play of late, while Woodbridge Dean Mercer, who has every one of Woodbridge’s wins this season, played spectacular against Stone Bridge.

One thing’s for sure: pretty much everyone who watched the NVSHL season unfolded, expected Stone Bridge, which has a record of 96-15-1 during its nine-year history, to play for its fourth championship. That won’t happen.

“Half an hour before this game, our coach told us [that Stone Bridge lost],” Stone said. “Stone Bridge is really intimidating, but I think we’re an even-match with Woodbridge. They have a good top line, and we have a good top line. We just have to go all out.”

By Jason Mackey  |  February 25, 2010; 11:11 AM ET
Categories:  Herndon , Langley , NVSHL , Stone Bridge High School , Woodbridge  
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