After DeMatha’s Tyler Mercier scored the first goal of the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game Friday night in Laurel, the junior stared down the Gonzaga student section.

The Purple Eagles had bested their longtime rivals in both regular season meetings, so Mercier’s goal was a warning that this time would be different.

“I wanted to make sure they knew DeMatha was here to play,” Mercier said.

In front of a packed crowd at the Gardens Ice House, where standing room was the only thing available, the Stags prevailed, 4-2, to win their fourth straight WCAC title.

“They played a great all-around game,” Stags Coach Tony MacAulay said. “We beat a really good team. That game could’ve gone either way, and we know that.”

Mercier later connected with junior Colin Licavoli, who delivered a shorthanded goal that gave the Stags (17-10-3) a 2-0 lead with under two minutes to go in the second period.

“We had a line rush on the penalty kill, which doesn’t always happen,” Licavoli said.

“You got to take advantage of it when you can, and we were able to do so.”

Licavoli’s goal was one of the night’s highlights, but his defensive work was just as impactful.

“Sometimes I struggle getting back to defense, but I made it a point today,” Licavoli said. “I went hard, did the best I could, and my teammates were there to cover me.”

Gonzaga (13-9-4) went into the second intermission filled with frustration, and it only escalated in the third period: DeMatha senior Luke Leydig scored in the opening seconds to make it 3-0.

DeMatha goalie Lincoln Crosby was a brick wall until Gonzaga’s Jack Mowrey and Luca Docking scored in a 20-second span to make it 3-2 and prompt the Stags to call a timeout.

“We wanted to make sure that everyone knew if we dragged each other out of that storm, there would be no troubles of winning that game,” Mercier said.

In the final minutes, DeMatha senior Brandon Metheny directed the puck past Gonzaga goalie Harlan Jackson for a power-play goal that capped the victory.

But the celebration will be short: The Stags have to gear up for the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League playoffs, where they will face Mount St. Joseph in the first round Tuesday.

“We got to stay humble,” Mercier said. “We got to know we are here for a reason and bring it in the MAPHL.”