Things have not gone exactly to plan for the GW club ice hockey team. It began the season with a coach, but he was fired midway through the campaign. Since then, the team has had a parent act as interim head coach but has been largely self-operated.
But one thing did go right for the Colonials Friday night. After escaping with a 3-2 victory the first time the two teams met, GW defeated Catholic this time around 8-4 at Verizon Center.
The Colonials started the game at a torrid pace, finishing the first period with a 6-1 lead, including one stretch when they put away four goals in less than four minutes. Finishing plays as if it were a hockey clinic, GW left the Cardinals looking shell-shocked as they entered the second period with the five-goal deficit.
Riding a wave of suddenly stellar goalkeeping, Catholic was able to mount a rally during the second period, inching them to within two goals while keeping the Colonials out of the net. It was once again GW’s game in the third period, however, as the Cardinals were unable to score while the Colonials did so twice.
“It was fun to get ahead early,” sophomore defender Ryan Stewart said. “We committed a lot of penalties, though, in the second period. We tried to goon it up a little.”
Stewart chuckled as he spoke, displaying an attitude that has guided his team all season and the one that ultimately got the squad to dismiss its coach.
“He started kicking players off the team who didn’t deserve it,” senior captain Jonathan Hixon said.
“He wanted to win first and have fun second when, for a club team, it should have been the other way around,” Stewart added.
The desire to have fun playing hockey has been the motivation for the players for much of the season. When presented with the opportunity to sell Washington Capitals tickets in order to get a chance to play on the ice at Verizon Center, some players were skeptical.
“We didn’t know if people would be willing to come out here on a Friday night,” Hixon said. It didn’t help that the event was up against comedian B.J. Novak’s performance at Lisner Auditorium, which was Friday at 7 p.m.
But the team was not deterred and was able to organize themselves and sell enough tickets to get the team on the ice.
“Most of all we wanted to get more exposure throughout the community,” Hixon said before the game.
With a victory in front of 300 fans, it looks like the team accomplished that.
The Colonials’ next game will be in the first round of the playoffs against Pennsylavania State University on Feb. 22 at the Fort Dupont Ice Arena. The teams have split two contests this season.