What a difference a year has made for Georgetown Prep.
The top-ranked Little Hoyas entered Wednesday night’s game against Churchill undefeated (6-0) and already having matched their win total from last season, with victories over Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League giants DeMatha, Gonzaga and O’Connell on their résumé.
That domination continued at Rockville Ice Arena, where Georgetown Prep beat the Bulldogs, 9-2, for its second win against its public school rivals this season.
Prep has been building toward a season like this since Brian Danver and his staff began coaching the team three years ago.
Danver taught several current Little Hoyas in elementary school when he was a P.E. teacher at Mater Dei in Bethesda, and that familiarity has helped him at the high school level.
“There’s probably five or six kids on the roster I had as second- or third-graders,” Danver said. “It’s certainly a trust level I think certainly helps.”
Two of Danver’s former students — senior forward James Flannery and senior defenseman Clay Lanham — played major roles in Georgetown Prep’s victory over Churchill (6-5-2) on Wednesday night. Flannery finished with five goals, and Lanham provided needed leadership in the defensive zone.
Flannery opened the scoring in the first period with a quick wrist shot that beat the Churchill goalie to the blocker side.
After the Little Hoyas weathered a few tough shifts in their zone thanks to Churchill’s aggressive forechecking, Flannery’s strong night continued when Patrick Fitzgerald stole the puck, patiently assessed his options from behind the net and passed to the short side for Flannery’s second goal of the game.
“Me and Patrick usually just kind of create chaos in the corners and try to get to the net and see what happens,” Flannery said.
After Hayden Farrand scored for Churchill late in the first period off a scramble in front of the net, Lanham and Flannery starred as Georgetown Prep began to pull away in the second.
Lanham blocked shots and cleared the crease of Churchill forwards in front of goalie Elon Granston, and Flannery provided another boost when Fitzgerald blocked a shot and found Flannery on a two-on-one for another goal.
The rout continued at the end of the period, when Peter Roche deked the puck through a defender’s legs and roofed a shot, and Flannery ended the period with a blocker-side shot with 0.8 seconds left.
“I think this year we just have a different attitude going into every game,” Flannery said. “This year we’re jumping on every team from the start, and I think that’s the key.”