The Washington Post

For Cardinals, trophy is worth the four-year wait


Ryan Quaid and Jacob Middel were all too familiar with the feeling of falling short. For two of their first three seasons at Bishop Ireton, the now-senior captains fell to the eventual champions in the Capital Scholastic Hockey League tournament. And last month the Cardinals lost by a goal to Paul VI in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Metro Division final.

On Friday night, it was finally their turn to hoist a championsh­ip trophy. Thanks, in large part, to a freshman.

Zach Martsching scored twice, including the winner in overtime, as Ireton downed Lake Braddock, 3-2, at Prince William Ice Arena in Woodbridge.

“Watching people in years past lift this trophy, dreaming about it being you forever and finally being here, it’s a feeling like no other,” Quaid said.

The Cardinals (14-14-1) entered the tournament as the 10th seed and needed to win four straight games to capture the title.

After Martsching struck first to give them the lead, Ireton surrendere­d two second-period goals and entered the third period down one, staring down a potentiall­y devastatin­g loss.

“They went up 2-1, and I was a little nervous,” Middel admitted. “But I knew we would battle back.”

It was a familiar position for the team, Coach Anthony Dicarlo said. Ireton had suffered multiple close losses throughout its season, stinging defeats on its way to satisfacti­on.

With time ticking in the final period, Middel found the equalizer. He pushed a shot past the Bruins’ goalkeeper before streaking past the Ireton bench, raising his arms as he whizzed by his cheering teammates.

“I didn’t even think the puck was going to go in, but once I saw that in, I knew we had a shot at winning this,” Middel said.

When the third period ended, the Cardinals and Bruins huddled at their benches, regrouping before overtime.

Minutes into the extra period, Martsching sneaked the puck past the Lake Braddock defense for his second goal, and the Cardinals flocked to the corner of the rink in a frenzy.

Quaid beelined for Middel as he watched the puck cross the line. The seniors celebrated together as they joined their teammates in the corner, tossing their helmets and sticks in the air in celebratio­n of a win four years in the making.

“We battled through everything,” Middel said. “I mean, it took us four years to get here.”

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