PLAYERS TO WATCH

T.J. Kenyon, Stone Bridge, Sr. -- Co-captain brings leadership and stifling defense on back line.

Chris Lorusso, Broad Run, Sr. -- Missed the first two games this season but adds offensive punch to a team that scored 10 goals in his absence.

Jeremy Maddox, Potomac Falls, Sr. -- Two-year starting goaltender gives the Panthers an advantage between the pipes.

Nicolas Pogu, Potomac Falls, Sr. -- An All-Extra defender last year, he loves to bring the puck into the offensive zone and scored five goals last year.

Shayne Pouliot, Loudoun County, Soph. -- Speedy forward had six goals and five assists in the first eight games.

STORY LINES

Will Broad Run remain near the top in Northern Virginia?

Broad Run is 66-2-3 on the ice since the team's inception five years ago, with both losses to Stone Bridge, the most recent last year in the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League final.

If the Spartans are to return to the championship game, defense will take them there. Senior Jake Wacker, juniors Ryan Blair and Jason Resto and sophomore Eric Savelli are counted on to help as the team's goaltending platoon gains experience.

On attack, sophomore Jeremiah Cunningham recorded a hat trick in each of the Spartans' first two games and is teamed with proven senior scorers Chris Lorusso and senior Matt Kennedy.

"Everybody is gunning for us, everyone still marks our game on the schedule," said Coach Steve Lorusso. "They all want to beat us, and we'll be ready for them. We'll give them our best shot."

Is Potomac Falls primed for a title run?

The Panthers had an easy time in the first two games, defeating McLean and W.T. Woodson by a combined 19-3. But Coach Brian Logan wants his team to learn lessons from such games, not cruise through them.

"If you've got your foot on the snake, keep it on there," Logan said. "You don't let it up and see how it's doing for fear that it bites you or gets away. I think we lifted our foot off the snake a little more than I would like."

Area coaches agree that the Panthers are the team to beat this year, and they tied Broad Run, 6-6, nine days ago. Seniors C.J. Brobst and Ken Logan provide scoring, and seniors Nick Pogu and Henry Eickelberg, along with freshmen Kevin Logan and Brian Gale, will keep guard in front of standout goalkeeper Jeremy Maddox, a senior.

How well can players from three schools mesh into one team?

Coach Gregg White expected his team of players from Heritage, Loudoun County and Loudoun Valley to win about half of 10 NVSHL games this year. But after the team played well in two preseason tournaments, White has changed his expectations.

"I've revised upward," said White, who has returned after taking last year off. "I think we can go 7-3, 8-2 with the way we've been playing. We haven't had our guns loaded fully, but now that we've got everybody playing together, everybody seems to be meshing. It's really come along well."

The team has three players in double-digit point totals -- sophomore Shayne Pouliot (11), junior Josh Gray (10) and sophomore Mike Santiago (10).

-- Colin Fitzgibbons