As the bodies hit the ice and hits rattled the boards, you could see the early stages of a rivalry Friday night at the Prince William Ice Center.
But then Langley’s Will Clemson flicked his wrist from the blue line in the second period and watched the puck sail aimlessly into the net. He smiled and shrugged as he skated back to the bench, acknowledging his own good fortune.
Maybe the rivalry hasn’t fully developed just yet.
After crushing No. 7 Woodbridge in the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League semifinals last season, No. 9 Langley scored two goals in four minutes to once again cruise past the Vikings, 2-0, in a key early-season matchup Friday night.
With the win, the Saxons (3-0-1) have now won three of their first four games under first-year Coach Grady Little.
“You need to get off to a good start, and when you beat teams like this, it proves a lot about your team,” senior Jeremy Kim said. “It proves that we can beat teams like Stone Bridge, Briar Woods, Woodbridge. We know that we’re a good team, and we played like it tonight.”
Woodbridge (3-1-1) has not always been mentioned in the same breath as Stone Bridge and Briar Woods, two of the area’s perennial powers. But Coach Mike Strycharz’s team continues to grow, as does its emotion when sharing the ice with Langley.
While there were only two offsetting penalties Friday night, the intensity between the two teams showed in a number of hits and extra-curricular activity after the whistle.
“In the past couple years, they were the team we had to beat to get to states. We came out [last year], we played hard and we ended up seeing ourselves in the championship,” said senior Drew Schneider, who leads Langley with nine goals this season. “I think more and more over the years, we’re starting to see them become a better team and match our skill level.”
Though Langley lost six seniors from the state runner-up team that easily handled Woodbridge 5-1 last year, the Saxons looked equally in control Friday.
Kim got the scoring started three minutes into the second period, when Schneider dipped behind the net and sent a pass in front for linemate Shane Clayon. Clayon redirected the puck toward the far side of the net, where Kim was patiently waiting to score his first goal of the season.
The Saxons doubled their lead less than four minutes later, when Clemson, a defenseman, matched his scoring total from all of last season with a long-distance wrist shot.
Senior goalkeeper Ryan Framinan, who splits time in net with Ryan Guidi, took over from there, finishing with 22 saves.
“He was one of the big reasons that we won,” Schneider said of Framinan. “He came up huge. We could just kind of stay back after [scoring twice], just retreat, trap them in the neutral zone.”