The CSHL Virginia State Championship lived up to the hype as Washington-Lee and T.C. Williams played a great hockey game between two of the best high school programs in Virginia.
Defending champion T.C. Williams was the Washington Post’s #7 ranked high school team in the DMV area. The Titans boasted the best regular season record (8-2) in the CSHL before knocking off Lake Braddock/Park View and West Potomac in the playoffs to work their way back to the title game. The Titans were on a 9-game win streak dating back to November and were led the 2018-19 CSHL Player-of-the-Year Jason Townsend.
Washington-Lee entered the contest ranked right behind T.C. at #8 by the Washington Post. The Generals finished the CSHL regular season with the second-best record of 7-2-1, which included a win over the Titans back in November. W-L earned their way into the championship game with victories over Woodbridge and Bishop Ireton in the playoffs. The Generals lineup featured a core of experienced seniors and juniors complemented by a talented but young stable of underclassmen, including ten freshmen.
W-L struck quickly when Kyle Wilson chipped a puck into the neutral zone and Austin Pick outraced the Titans defender to it. Pick flew in on a breakaway and rifled a shot into the upper corner of the net, giving the Generals a 1-0 lead just 44 seconds into the game.
A couple minutes later, Victor Hugo retrieve a puck in the neutral zone and made a quick transition pass up to Pick, who barreled past the T.C. defenders again and slid the puck through the legs of the T.C. goalie to give W-L a 2-0 lead less than three minutes into the game.
The Titans were stunned early but managed to regroup. Goalie Lucas Hernandez Wilson settled in and turned away a several more early scoring chances by W-L. T.C. began to generate pressure in the offensive zone and with a little over five minutes left in the opening period, Luke Mattson found John Fortney on the backdoor. Fortney one-timed the pass into the back of the net for the score.
In the second period, both goalies, Hernandez Wilson for T.C. and Ely Constantine for W-L, made several big saves for their teams. The game stayed 2-1 through the period despite both teams having several powerplay opportunities.
With a little over ten minutes left in the game, W-L senior Logan Ehrlich rushed up the left side of the ice and into the T.C. zone before cutting hard to the net. Hernandez Wilson saved Ehrlich's first shot, but the senior retrieved his own rebound and skating across the front of the goalmouth was able to slip the puck into the net to give W-L a 3-1 lead. Hunter Spicer added a power play goal for the Generals with just under seven minutes to play to extend W-L’s lead to three goals.
The Titans weren’t ready to concede and they ferociously battled back. T.C. capitalized on their own power play when Jason Townsend scored with 2:39 left in the game. With their goalie pulled for the extra attacker, the Titans frantic effort led to another goal by Townsend, bringing the game within one score but with only 38 seconds remaining.
Washington-Lee held on as time ran down to capture the 4-3 victory and the Championship!
Congratulations to the 2019 CSHL Virginia State Champion Washington-Lee Generals!