Icecats rocket to first place


Photo courtesy of Ben Linteris

Junior assistant captain and left wing Brendan Klotz controls the puck in the Icecats’ defensive zone. The Icecats have continuously had success breaking out of the defensive zone and quickly shifting into offensive attacks.

The Icecats beat Richard Montgomery in back to back games claiming the division’s number one spot in the process. Sitting at a divisional record of 8-1 with three divisional games remaining, the Icecats are primed, but not guaranteed, to enter the playoffs with the top seed.

“It’s a really great feeling because we’ve definitely put in the work to get here. That being said, it’s an incredibly tight race, and our upcoming schedule features three of the other top four teams in the county, so if we’re to defend our spot, we’re going to have to work even harder,” senior captain and center Alex Chang said.

The Icecats have proven time and again that this year’s squad is special. With playoff seeding on the line and a fierce rival in the way, the Icecats showed no hesitation in firing at the Rockets; scoring 12 goals in two games.

“We were favorites to win but they put up a good fight. Those two wins were huge for us, especially in the standings. Plus, a rivalry win always feels nice,” senior goalie Jason Conlan said.

Both games were sneak peaks of what playoff action may look like for the Icecats. The first game, on Monday, Dec. 12 was dominated by the Icecats for the first two periods. Goals from freshman wing Henry Horwell, junior wing Adam Pyott and Junior, Captain, left wing Brendan Klotz put the Icecats up 3-1 entering the third.

The Rockets retaliated late and tied the game before senior Captain and wing Ethan Birndorf sealed the game with five minutes left to play; final score, 4-3 Icecats.

Senior captain and center Alex Chang presses the puck. With the playoffs approaching, the Icecats have had no trouble showing tenacity and intensity in the final stretch of the season, setting the tone for the playoffs. (Photo courtesy of Ben Linteris)

“I think we came out hungry to win but got too comfortable with our lead in the second. We finished the game like how we started and played more as a team,” Pyott said.

The second matchup on Wednesday, Dec. 21 was a much higher scoring affair with both teams doubling their scoring totals. Chang was the player of the game, scoring a hat trick in just the first two periods, and adding one more to the score sheet in the third finishing with 4 out of the 8 Icecats’ goals; final score 8-6.

“My first goal was pretty flukey, since I shot it off one of their defender’s stick. My second and third ones should be attributed to Patrick [Adams] and Max [Epstein] for reading the play perfectly, they were both a matter of just being in the right place at the right time. My fourth was pretty cool actually; I drove the net and beat the goalie glove side off my own rebound. You know you scored 4 in the moment, but you don’t think much of it until afterwards where it clicks and you realize “whoa, that just happened,” Chang said.

The Icecats play second place Churchill on Friday, Jan. 13 at Rockville Ice Arena, with a 9:20 p.m. puck drop.