The scoring surge propelled the Knights to a 4-2 win and their first league title since 2009.
“We knew they were going to come out fast. We just had to adjust to that pace,” O’Connell junior goalie Jack MacKinnon said. “Once we got our feet wet, then we were rolling.”
The lights went out with 2:24 remaining in the first period. With 17 seconds left in the period, O’Connell sophomore Victor Musoke bolted down the left wing, pulled up at the circle and buried a wrist shot into the bottom right corner. With 4:25 gone in the second period, O’Connell junior Jacob Smith doubled the lead with a one-timer from the slot on a power play.
“In the delay we just talked about bearing down. We were missing a couple easy passes in the first period,” Musoke said. “I scored and the boys got going a little bit. We gained some confidence and picked it up the rest of the way.”
With 7:29 left in the second period, Broad Run forward and league player of the year Mitch Rebholz scored on a power play. The senior, who scored 26 goals in 10 regular season games, added another goal in the third period with his team down by three. The Spartans’ offense scored 96 goals in their 11 wins entering the final and outshot O’Connell 30-26, but could not consistently solve MacKinnon.
“We shut down Rebholz and that’s what we came out to do. That’s what we had to do,” MacKinnon said. “He still scored twice but it would have been a lot more if we didn’t play as well as we did.”
Sophomore Ben Gibbons and sophomore Alex Vouras added third-period goals for the Knights. This winter, No. 7 O’Connell (21-10-2) also competed in the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League and the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. Despite coming up short of playoff success in each league, a win over No. 2 Broad Run (11-1) in their final game made the winter a success.
“This caps it off perfectly,” MacKinnon said. “Couldn’t imagine closing out the season any other way.”
At Prince William Ice Center on Friday night, T.C. Williams defeated Lake Braddock, 5-4, to win its first Capital Scholastic Hockey League championship. The Titans led 3-1 after the first period and trailed 4-3 after the second before scoring twice in the third.