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Ice hockey Top 10: Churchill holds its own against private schools to take No. 2 spot

Churchill senior goalie Alex Plastrik covers the puck in a 2-1 win over DeMatha on Wednesday (Photo by Dillon Mullan/For The Washington Post.)
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Churchill has won three straight Maryland Student Hockey League championship games by a combined score of 27-1. In each regular season, the Bulldogs add a handful of private schools to their schedule for guaranteed competition. After a 2-1 loss to Gonzaga in November, the Bulldogs beat Landon, 3-1, and DeMatha, 2-1, in December.

“A lot of times it feels like the best players we play against are ourselves in practice, so when we come play these close games with private schools, it’s a good measuring stick for where we are,” senior forward John Taylor said after a win over DeMatha on Dec. 13. “If we can’t convert at the end of games when it is 2-1 against a tough private school, then I don’t see how we’re going to do that in the playoffs. It’s preparation.”

The Bulldogs will face DeMatha, St. John’s, and Georgetown Prep in the new year and are up to No. 2 in this week’s rankings. Behind the Bulldogs, Georgetown Prep and Broad Run slide up to the No. 3 and No. 5 spots on the back of undefeated starts, while Glenelg and Briar Woods join the rankings.

On Dec. 27, the 25th annual National Capital Hockey Tournament will drop the puck at Fort Dupont Ice Arena in Southeast for the opening game between host Gonzaga and Spalding. This year’s field also includes locals O’Connell and Georgetown Prep as well as the Hun School (Princeton, N.J.), Loyola Academy (Wilmette, Ill.), Loyola (Montreal Quebec, Canada), Regis Jesuit (Aurora, Colo.), St. Ignatius High School (Cleveland) and St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia). The championship game is a 6 p.m. on Dec. 30 and a full schedule can be found here.

The Post Top 10

1. Gonzaga (6-1-1) Last ranked: 1

The Eagles lost in Philadelphia to St. Joe’s Prep on Nov. 29 before bouncing back with four-goal wins over Calvert Hall and O’Connell and an 8-2 win over St. Albans.

2. Churchill (11-1) LR: 3

Senior goalie Alex Plastrik made 40 saves to lead the Bulldogs past DeMatha, 2-1, on Wednesday. In the Maryland Student Hockey League this season, Churchill is 9-0 with a 75-12 goal differential.

3. Georgetown Prep (4-0) LR: 8

In three wins to start the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League season, senior goaltender Will Boggs has saved 67 of the 73 shots he has faced.

4. Landon (3-1) LR: 5

After a 3-1 loss to Churchill, senior Nico Kenary and sophomore Joe Graham each scored two goals as the Bears beat St. John’s, 7-3.

5. Broad Run (4-0) LR: 6

Senior forward Mitch Rebholz has scored 14 goals as the Spartans have outscored their opponents 44-8 in four wins.

6. DeMatha (6-5-2) LR: 2

After two losses in New York to competition from Ohio and Pennsylvania, the Stags’ losing streak was extended to four by one-goal losses to Churchill and St. Albans.

7. O’Connell (8-2-1) LR: 4

The Knights rebounded from a 6-2 loss to Gonzaga by scoring 18 goals in two wins over Bullis and Flint Hill.

8. Glenelg (6-1) LR: NR

Following a 5-0 loss to unbeaten Urbana, the Gladiators beat Howard, Marriotts Ridge and Atholton. Senior Curtis Rodkey leads Glenelg with 19 points.

9. West Potomac (4-0-1) LR: 9

Junior Oliver Kruszka dished out two assists in a 4-1 win over W.T. Woodson last Friday.

10. Briar Woods (4-0-1) LR: NR

Senior Cam Audi has five goals and five assists as the Falcons have outscored their opponents 32-8.

Dropped Out: No. 7 Wootton (7-2), No. 10 Stone Bridge (3-1-1)

On the bubble: St. John’s (3-2-1), Langley (5-0), Wootton (7-2)

All records through Tuesday.