Depth has been a calling card for Stone Bridge all season. Friday night, as the area’s rush-hour traffic threatened to keep key Bulldogs Josh Kuzbel and Anthony Moffa from arriving at Capitals Kettler Iceplex in time for the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League final, it appeared that depth would be put to the test in the season’s biggest game.
Kuzbel and Moffa, however, showed their timing was almost perfect. The pair made it to Arlington just before the puck dropped against Ashburn rival Briar Woods, then combined for three goals as the Bulldogs built a 6-0 lead and held on for a 7-3 victory and their second consecutive title.
“It was brutal. We left at 4:30 and sat in traffic for two hours,” said Kuzbel, who stayed after school for baseball team pictures. “But thankfully we got here in time, and we got a good effort from everybody tonight.”
Sophomore Chris Berry put the Bulldogs (13-0) on the board less than two minutes in with a few whacks at a loose puck that eventually trickled past Briar Woods goalie Anthony Sangster. Six minutes later, Kuzbel crashed the the net to knock home a goal off an assist from Moffa to give Stone Bridge a 2-0 lead at the first intermission.
“Getting on the board first was the key to everything,” said freshman goalie Martin Trivieri, who stopped 35 shots after a shaky regular season outing against the Falcons.
From there, the Bulldogs’ concerted effort to shadow Briar Woods standout Devin Brink wore on the Falcons and their top scorer, and in the second period it boiled over. After a quick whistle negated a Briar Woods goal, Brink was hit with a 10-minute misconduct penalty. And with their star off the ice, the Falcons (7-4-2) wilted.
Moffa, Morgan Dice and Tanner Cochran each scored during a span of less than three minutes to push the lead to 5-0, and two minutes later, a few shoves between Dice and Briar Woods defenseman Kevin McDonald turned into a full-on fight. Both were sent to their locker rooms with fighting majors.
Brink’s return sparked his team in the third. Trailing 6-0, Zach Regester, Nick Sorando and Brendan Walsh scored in quick succession to bring the Falcons back to life with just less than eight minutes remaining.
But Kuzbel killed the rally minutes later with his second tally, and the Bulldogs closed out their fifth championship in 11 seasons.