Hylton's hockey team is in only its second year, but the Bulldogs entered this season with a list of lofty goals.
The Bulldogs can check off at least one item on that list. Playing against more experienced teams, Hylton won Tier II of last week's Purple Puck Tournament at Fort Dupont Ice Arena in the District.
Led by the goaltending of Peter Hince and the skills of experienced senior players not often seen on start-up teams, Hylton completed the tournament with a 4-0-1 record, capped by a 2-1 victory over O'Connell in the final.
"This is one of the things the athletes set out to do," Hylton Coach J.C. Dotson said. "They have proved to themselves that they can play at this level, and it gave them a lot of confidence for the rest of the season."
The Bulldogs (10-2) have picked up where they left off last year, when they went 15-3-1 in their inaugural season. Among Hylton's four victories at the Purple Puck Tournament, hosted by Gonzaga High School, was a win over DeMatha's Tier II team. DeMatha boasts one of the more experienced programs in the area; its top team won the Tier I competition.
"We were clearly the team with the youngest program, and it was neat to get a little reinforcement that the program is moving on the right path," Dotson said.
The Bulldogs' forward momentum took a bit of hit Monday night, when Broad Run scored a late third-period goal to break a 1-1 tie and go on to a 3-1 win. The loss dropped Hylton to 2-2 in the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League but has not dampened the Bulldogs' hopes of reaching the playoffs for the first time.
"That's a hard loss," Dotson said. "We have to overcome these defeats and stay together and keep moving forward so we can get a playoff spot."