By David Rosenberg @drose105
ROCKVILLE — On Friday at Cabin John Ice Rink, the Quince Orchard Cougars ice hockey team narrowly defeated the Northwest Jaguars in a thrilling 5-4 win.
Both teams looked to get their first win after moving up a division this year playing more challenging opponents. The Cougars were led by goalie Noah Patrick. Patrick held down the fort with many saves in key moments, including one midway through the third period, tracking it out of midair. Tyler Eyester shot the game-winning goal, shortly after Northwest had just tied the score.
The Cougars started slow, as Northwest’s Jason Edmundson scored a huge hit only five seconds into the game, setting the tone which translated to a Ben Weiner goal soon after, making it 1-0.
However, the Cougars bounced back thanks to Anthony Spano and Tyler Eyester each tallying a goal and an assist to take the lead 2-1. The Jaguars then tied the game 2-2 but Quince Orchard reclaimed the lead off of a Nicholas Reese goal from Brandon Cavey and didn’t stop there; Jared Katon then scored on a power play pass from Cavey. The Cougars defensively were outstanding and played well on the forecheck, giving them more time on attack.
Regarding the effect that defeating rivals can have on a team, Quince Orchard head coach Andy Katon said, “It’s exciting; it’s something we can build on. Beating a rival is something you always wanna do. You know a lot of these guys play JV together and a lot of them are friends, but when you get on the ice, they treat them like they should: as rivals.”
On making the game-winning shot just after Northwest had tied the score, Katon said, “Oh, it was great! It’s something you always want to do. As soon as somebody scores, you wanna be able to turn it right back around and take away their chance of getting momentum.”
Talking about a crucial save, Patrick explained, “On that play, our team turned the puck over and someone shot the puck and hit my blocker and went straight up in the air, and I was able to track it midair with my eyes and was able to hit it, preventing it from going into the net. So I kind of saved the day for the team, which gave us the 5-4 win.”
Still, Northwest put up a great fight and showed their intensity early with their first goal. Goaltender Hunter Harris made it hard for Quince Orchard to score, making key stops on a few breakaways. When down 4-2, Andrew Bazhin and Brendan Lynch stepped up huge. In the third period, Bazhin scored an unassisted goal and later Bazhin fed Brendan Lynch the puck to tie the game at 4-4. Unfortunately for the Jags, this even score proved to be short-lived. Though unsatisfied with the end result, Edmundson felt the Northwest team made their presence felt.
“I wanted to make an impact early on in the game and let QO know that we came to play,” Edmundson said.
Edmundson added, “We just need to keep playing hard and try to find small things that’ll raise our confidence a bit. We played a great game; there’s just a few mistakes, including penalties that always kills us.”
Quince Orchard and Northwest will face off again on New Year’s Day.