Defending a championship is one of the hardest things in sports to do, and in the 20th Annual National Capital Hockey Tournament, the Purple Puck, defending champions fell in both the Varsity and Prep Division tournaments during the final week of the calendar year.
Gonzaga dropped a 2-1 decision to St. Ignatius of Ohio in the Prep championship, but opened the tournament following the Varsity championship three days earlier that saw Team Nova pick up the victory over Chantilly. Team Nova consisted of players from several area high schools including Bishop Ireton, Bishop O’Connell, South County and W. T. Woodson just to name a new.
The two divisions were almost mirror images of each other as offense dominated the Varsity Division, with five goals scored in the first three minutes of the first game on December 26 between the two eventual championship teams. The was just a sign of things to come as the four teams in the division combined for 82 goals in just seven total games.
Chantilly’s Keegan Kelly led all players with 16 points (nine goals, seven assists) while teammates Clay Shapiro (seven goals, eight assists) and Cobey Hernandez (10 goals, five assists) finished with 15 each. Duke Roach of Team Nova tied Hernandez for the goal scoring title with 10 goals. A total of 10 power play goals with Roach and teammate Nick Tangora leading the way with a pair each; and five short handed goals with Hernandez leading the way with two were scored in the Varsity tournament.
West Mason and Gonzaga’s Varsity II team rounded out the Varsity tournament. West Mason’s top scorers were Tommy Cleary, Nick Gorgone and Remi Paine who scored the Mustangs goals. The Eagles were paced by Chris King (four goals, four assists), Michael Dewhirst (three goals) and Patrick Kirchner, Willie Leidolf and Matt Nicholson who all had two goals each.
Before the Prep Division got underway with its seven-team field, the tournament recognized its history with an opening ceremonies that included the first coach in Gonzaga hockey history in Ed McGonigle who was there at the first Purple Puck 20 years ago. During the ceremony, tournament director John Cotten, read a proclamation from the DC government recognizing December 28, 2012 as Purple Puck Day in Washington, DC. Following the proclamation, the tournament presented Jarrod Wronski with an award of service for his 10 years with the Purple Puck serving as the tournament’s announcer, music person, game operations specialist and statistician.
The Prep Division feature a total of 14 games with the teams combining for 84 goals. There were four shutouts and six games decided by two goals or less, as goalies and defense became the focus.
Gonzaga’s Jack Slater lead all goal scorers with five while Jack Olson of Georgetown Prep tied with two players from Canisius and one from St. Igantius for second. Georgetown Prep’s Ryan How tied with Gonzaga’s Michael Logan for second in assists while Slater was one point off the pace with seven. Gonzaga’s Chris Meloni, was the Mike Green of the tournament, posting three power play goals to lead all with the extra man. In fact, Gonzaga’s power play was tops by converting 27.3% of the time with six tallies with the extra man. The remaining six teams in the tournament scored eight power play goals. Huntingtown led all teams on the penalty kill by killing off all nine of their opponent’s power play chances.
In addition to the three local teams in the tournament, the Purple Puck welcomed Canisius (Buffalo, NY) who registered 22 goals for in the tournament while allowing only four, Loyola Academy (Chicago, IL) who was making their third appearance in the tournament, St. Ignatius (Cleveland, Ohio) who tied for Canisius for most goals scored in the tournament in winning their first Purple Puck championship and St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia, PA) who was also appearing in their third tournament.
|Home ||Visitor ||Home Score ||Visitor Score |
|Gonzaga ||Canisius ||0 ||2 |
|St. Ignatius ||Huntingtown ||9 ||0 |
|St. Joseph Prep ||Georgetown Prep ||5 ||1 |
|Loyola Academy ||Gonzaga ||1 ||1 |
|Canisius ||Georgetown Prep ||11 ||3 |
|St. Ignatius ||Gonzaga ||5 ||7 |
|Loyola Academy ||Huntingtown ||3 ||0 |
|St. Joseph Prep ||Canisius ||1 ||5 |
|St. Ignatius ||Loyola Academy ||2 ||1 |
|Huntingtown ||Georgetown Prep ||2 ||5 |
|Gonzaga ||St. Joseph Prep ||7 ||2 |
|#1 St. Ignatius ||#4 St. Joseph's Prep ||4 ||0 |
|#2 Loyola Academy ||#3 Gonzaga ||1 ||3 |
|St. Ignatius ||Gonzaga ||2 ||1 |