Stone Bridge Packs the House in Ashburn

The Washington Post - - High Schools - By Jeff Nelson and Dave Yanovitz

The vast ma­jor­ity of high school ice hockey games in the area fail to reach triple dig­its in at­ten­dance, but Stone Bridge has packed Ashburn Ice House on a reg­u­lar ba­sis this sea­son.

The Bull­dogs have at­tracted good crowds dat­ing from the first North­ern Vir­ginia Scholas­tic Hockey League cham­pi­onship game in 2002, when Stone Bridge and Broad Run com­bined to bring be­tween 800 and 1,000 fans to Ashburn Ice House, ac­cord­ing to its gen­eral man­ager, Rob Loren­zen.

The fa­cil­ity holds 400 peo­ple in its bleach­ers, but with room to stand around the rink, at least twice that num­ber can fit in the build­ing. Roughly 600 peo­ple, most of them stu­dents, at­tended a high-profile matchup against O’Con­nell in early Jan­uary.

“This year’s se­niors and some of the ju­niors [on the team] are more well con­nected with the whole Stone Bridge com­mu­nity,” Bull­dogs Coach John Lynch said, “and the kids just re­ally turn out.”

O’Con­nell Coach Pete Han­nums, whose team lost that game 9-1, com­mented at the time on the crowd’s ef­fect, and other coaches over the years have talked about the noise they face when play­ing Stone Bridge.

“It’s gotta be a lit­tle in­tim­i­dat­ing,” Lynch said. “We’ve got a hell of a team, but once we get up and start press­ing and the crowd gets loud, I bet you that’s worth two or three goals.”

The Bull­dogs are on the road to­mor­row night against McLean and re­turn home for a Feb. 8 show­down against Broad Run (7-1) to de­cide the West Di­vi­sion cham­pion.

Brady’s Sea­hawks

Ten years ago, a South River fresh­man named Bryan Brady started an ice hockey team at the Edge­wa­ter school, anx­ious to play the sport he loved while wear­ing school col­ors. A decade later, the Sea­hawks are flour­ish­ing — un­de­feated af­ter 11 games and ready to en­ter the play­offs as the Mary­land Scholas­tic Hockey League’s de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons. They’ve lost only one game over the past two sea­sons.

And their coach? An older and wiser Bryan Brady, who has his own land­scap­ing busi­ness and for the third year is head coach at his alma mater.

As for the play­ers, se­nior Brad Hewick is the MSHL’s lead­ing scorer with 40 points. His 22 goals are sev­enth best in the league, his 18 as­sists sec­ond, and he has three game-win­ning goals. Chris Devore (nine goals, 12 as­sists), Matt Gre­goire (11 goals, eight as­sists) and Nolan High (nine goals, nine as­sists) have been pro­vid­ing South River with bal­anced scor­ing, not al­low­ing op­po­nents to sim­ply key on Hewick.

“What we al­ways tell the kids is that we’re gonna score our [share of] goals, we need to stop the other team from scor­ing more,” Brady said. The Sea­hawks’ de­fense has re­sponded: It has al­lowed only 18 goals in 11 games.

Brady also noted that prac­tice time has been a fac­tor in this sea­son’s suc­cess. Last sea­son, South River had just one prac­tice all sea­son, for lack of ice avail­abil­ity. This win­ter, with South River play­ing in the new McMullen Hockey Arena at the Naval Academy, the Sea­hawks have been able to pro­cure ice time for prac­tices once a week.

Brady wants his play­ers to be at their peak as the play­offs com­mence in two weeks. To that end, his team will play No. 8 Lan­g­ley on Tues­day at Wheaton Out­door Rink. It will mark the first time South River has faced a non-Mary­land team.

Bullis, Lan­don Meet Again

Be­hind se­nior for­ward Steven Burke and se­nior goalie Mike Band, Bullis is un­de­feated head­ing into its re­match with Lan­don at 6:50 p.m. to­mor­row at Rockville Ice Rink.

Bullis won the first meet­ing, 8-4, on Jan. 22 be­hind a strong sec­ond pe­riod in which the Bull­dogs outscored Lan­don 4-0.

Bears Coach Chan­dler Gam­mill said his team had a num­ber of break­downs in that pe­riod and if the same thing hap­pens to­mor­row, the Bears can ex­pect the same re­sult.

“You can’t make mis­takes” against Bullis, Gam­mill said. “The mo­ment that you do, those boys are quick enough and good enough that they’re go­ing to make you pay for it.”

BY RICH LIP­SKI — THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Broad Run’s Caleb Fletcher, left, and Stone Bridge’s Kyle Broadbent tus­sled last Fe­bru­ary at Ashburn Ice House.

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