Icecats take on top teams in national tournament

Luke Liden

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Photo courtesy of Alex Chang

The Icecats pose for a team photo in their cowboy hats, showing off their Texas spirit. While the national tournament didn’t go their way, the trip was a fun time for all.

On Mar. 23, the Icecats made the trip to Dallas, Texas to participate in the 2022 USA Hockey High School National Tournament. BCC and WJ were the only two teams from Montgomery County eligible for the tournament. With the Icecats putting together a longer state playoff run than BCC, they earned the berth into the national tournament.

Even though they made it further than BCC, an earlier than anticipated exit in the state tournament had the Icecats looking forward to an opportunity on the national scale.

“We had our goals set on winning the state tournament but luckily nationals gave us the chance to extend our season,” junior defenseman Patrick Adams said.

The top high school teams in the nation were in attendance and the Icecats faced their fiercest competition of the year. Unfortunately, some key members of the team weren’t able to make the trip: seniors Justin Davids and Joseph Lawrence along with freshmen Liam Mannle and Jack Potash.

The available Icecats battled through their three qualifying games, but they came up short in each of them, ending their tournament run. WJ faced off against Edwardsville High School, #43 ranked in Illinois, Dallas Jesuit High School, #3 ranked in Texas and Shattuck St. Mary’s, the #1 ranked team in the country. Although the Icecats weren’t able to bring home a win, their efforts against such tough competition exemplified the grit they showed all season.

“We didn’t have a picture perfect performance but the tournament was still really fun. It was super cool to be able to play teams from all across the country,” junior forward Ethan Birndorf said.

Along with being able to play teams from across the country, the tournament provided a fun time as it was the teams first time traveling together. They brought back matching cowboy hats to commemorate the experience.

The national tournament’s conclusion doesn’t draw the end of the line for the Icecats this year as they’ll have the chance to play together in Montgomery County’s spring league season. Along with one last chance to play alongside the seniors, spring league gives the team a preview of what they might look like next year.

“Spring league is gonna be good in helping us determine how we’re gonna put together new lines after the seniors leave,” junior forward Alex Chang said.