Christian Tschampel had lived through Langley hockey’s heartbreak for four years, hearing often that the Saxons would never win a Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League title.
Entering the NVSHL championship game Friday night, the senior sat at his locker in Ashburn Ice House and reflected on that assessment.
“I was going to make sure,” Tschampel promised himself, “this year was going to be the year.”
Tschampel scored about four minutes into the game, and Langley rode that momentum the rest of the way for its first NVSHL crown with a 4-2 victory over Briar Woods.
“I’m just so happy,” Tschampel said. “I can’t believe I got here.”
Behind first-year coach Patrick Keough, Langley (9-3-2) entered this season as a top Northern Virginia contender, but the Saxons experienced an inconsistent regular season. Then Langley knocked off Stone Bridge and Chantilly — the NVSHL’s top seeds — to reach the championship game.
Briar Woods (9-4-1) also pulled off upsets to reach the final and had beaten Langley in the 2013 title game before claiming consecutive crowns. But the Saxons did not have Keough’s coaching methods back then.
While high school statistics are harder to come by than those in professional leagues, Keough records and studies his team’s analytics. The Saxons switch formations quickly for a variety of situations, Tschampel said.
“We wanted it more than they did,” said Keough, who lost in the NVSHL championship game as Forest Park’s coach 17 years ago.
While Langley took advantage of its opportunities, Max Campbell, the NVSHL first-team goalkeeper, kept the Saxons in the game by making 30 saves.
Langley took a two-goal edge early in the second period and added another score in the final period to clinch its milestone.
When the final horn sounded, Campbell and Tschampel raised the championship trophy to their supporters, who crowded the Ashburn facility. Then Langley fans huddled outside the rink to enjoy the breakthrough, cheering as each of the school’s players exited.
“I had a feeling,” Tschampel said, “this team could do it.”