The George Mason High School club ice hockey team, partnering with West Potomac High School, defeated Washington-Lee High School last Friday night 5-4 to go 2-1 on the season and 1-0 in league play.
Washington-Lee started the scoring with 8:46 remaining in the first period on a shot by Trevor McManus, but Mason center Hunter Olson answered 41 seconds later, sending the puck in the upper right corner of the net past W-L goalie Matt Stewart to tie the score at 1-1.
The Mustang-led team scored twice more in the first period to go ahead 3-1. With 7:37 remaining in the period, Mustang winger Connor Rhodes, joining the team for the first time since football season, scored on a hard, low shot that whipped under the W-L goalie’s pads. Then Olson notched his second goal of the night at the one minute mark of the period, deking the goalie left and moving right to deliver a backhand shot over Stewart’s leg pad.
Washington-Lee was unwilling to go quietly, however, and fought back to tie the score 3-3 in the second period on goals by Sukhman Nahal and William Donahue. The W-L surge energized the Generals, who began breaking out the puck efficiently to attack the Mason end with speed. GM-West Potomac defensemen Adam Fendley, Jack Stricker, Peter Stamos and Jack Yager played textbook positioning, however, pushing puck carriers wide into poor shooting angles and shoving would-be screeners wide of the crease.
Energized by the defensive effort, the GM-West Potomac team began a furious onslaught on the W-L goal in the waning seconds of the second period. Olson and fellow Mustangs Andrew Williamson and Marsden Davis fired four straight shots at W-L’s Stewart as the clocked blinked down under 20 seconds. The General goalie repeatedly made the first stop but was unable to pull in the rebound, and his teammates were unable to clear the puck. With 10 seconds left, W-L’s left winger appeared to have control of the biscuit, but Olson and Davis converged on him and Davis knocked the puck to an open space in the high slot in front of the goal. Williamson, circling in the middle, lunged forward and slipped the puck between Stewart’s skates into the back of the net. With eight seconds left in the period, GM-West Potomac had regained the lead 4-3.
The dagger was inserted four minutes into the third period with the Olson, Davis, Williamson line again on the ice. Olson put on a stick-handling display, then passed to Davis, who took the puck behind the net and passed to Williamson on the left wing. Williamson took the pass in stride toward the goal, skated around a W-L defender, and delivered a sniper shot under the goalie’s glove. The score was 5-3 with 11 minutes remaining in the game.
The GM-West Potomac team then began eating up the clock, playing a dump and chase game that kept the puck in their offensive end most of the third period. When Washington-Lee succeeded in break outs, the Fendley-Stricker and Stamos-Yager defensive pairs maintained middle ice control, forcing the Generals to shoot from the wings and points.
W-L winger Sam Huffman managed to score a final goal for the Generals with 0.6 seconds remaining to bring his team within one, but Olson controlled the ensuing face off and the game was over.
West Potomac’s freshman goalie Bryan Snigur played a stellar game, making saves on 14 of 18 shots, including two beautiful glove saves in the third period of shots by Generals forwards Sam Huffman and Drew Layman. For Washington-Lee, Stewart made saves on 16 of 21 shots.
The GM-West Potomac team will face North Stafford High School next Monday at 4 p.m. at the Prince William Ice Center in Woodbridge.