When Sam Gerdano finished playing hockey for Gonzaga in 2010, he was committed to still being part of the program.

Gerdano spent five years as an assistant coach and last season took over as head coach.

“It’s like a dream come true for me, having gone to Gonzaga and growing up playing hockey,” Gerdano said. “Taking over a new team is a learning curve, but I have had a lot of help from assistant coaches, and [former Eagles Coach] Bill Slater still helps me out.”

Gerdano overcame the challenges of being a first-year head coach to lead the Eagles to a third consecutive Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League championship.

The Eagles are geared up to protect their spot in the MAPHL, even if that means having a target on their back.

“Every game is going to be a battle in our league,” Gerdano said. “You can’t take a night off because everyone is gunning for us, and everyone wants to beat Gonzaga. We realized that and embraced that.”

(Records from last season)

1. Gonzaga (15-8-1) Last ranked: 1

The Purple Eagles will have 15 returners from last year’s championship team. Senior Farrell Dinn, who recorded 16 goals during the 2018-2019 season, is expected to make a big impact.

2. DeMatha (25-8-2) LR: 2

Despite losing All-MAPHL first teamers Christian Halbig and Erick Reiniger, the Stags are still expected to be a formidable team.

3. Churchill (16-7-2) LR: 4

The Bulldogs will be aiming to win their sixth straight Maryland Student Hockey League championship.

4. Washington-Liberty (10-2-1) LR: 5

The Generals, who won the 2019 Capital Scholastic Hockey League championship, have jumped out to a 4-1 start to the season.

5. St. John’s (14-7-2) LR: 9

The Cadets have kicked off the 2019-20 campaign with a 9-0 start.

6. Georgetown Prep (14-4-1) LR: 3

The Hoyas will be without All-Met Player of the Year James Flannery, who graduated and went on to Navy to play lacrosse.

7. Langley (9-3-2) LR: 6

8. T.C. Williams (11-3) LR: 8

The Titans fell to Washington-Liberty in the 2019 CSHL title game.

9. Chantilly (10-2) LR: 7

The Chargers return their top offensive player, forward Owen Morgan.

10. Wootton (15-5-1) LR: 10

The Patriots are looking to bounce back from last season’s loss to Churchill in the MSHL championship.