McLean checks South Lakes to the bottom of the standings

Varsity hockey rises in the standings with crucial victory

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McLean checks South Lakes to the bottom of the standings

McLean hockey celebrating after the first goal scored by senior Matthew Regan.

McLean hockey celebrating after the first goal scored by senior Matthew Regan.

Ava Rotondo

McLean hockey celebrating after the first goal scored by senior Matthew Regan.

Ava Rotondo

Ava Rotondo

McLean hockey celebrating after the first goal scored by senior Matthew Regan.

Ava Rotondo and Ben Brooks

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The only thing that wasn’t ice cold at Reston SkateQuest on Friday night was the McLean club hockey team. 

The Highlanders struck early, with senior Matthew Regan scoring at the seven minute mark in the first period. McLean continued their offensive pressure on South Lakes throughout the first period, scoring again with senior Drew Hecker just a minute and a half later. 

McLean kept up the fight throughout and ultimately ran away with a 5-2 victory.

“Although we did pull off a major victory against South Lakes, we can never be content with our level of play,” junior player Chase Joyner said. “We still have to put in the effort during each practice so we can finely tune our skills and team synergy.”

The team’s preseason began in late September. With weekly practices and close to weekly games, players were warmed up and ready for the main season that started in early November. Many players also have to balance the McLean team with travel teams.

With a big win early in the season, the team is confident in their ability to compete at a high level throughout the year.

“Getting a win early in the season is important because it helps us gain momentum which will make future games easier,” Joyner said. “Last night’s win confirmed that we were definitely an A-tier team.”

The team won with a larger-than-usual McLean crowd in the bleachers. Once the clock struck zero, they erupted into cheers.

“Being able to stand right behind the glass and cheer up close is both exciting and entertaining. There is never a dull moment when watching hockey,” student team manager Elizabeth Hughes said. “This year, there have been a lot of fans come to the games which is absolutely amazing. The season has only just started, and I’m so glad that other students enjoy the games.”

These crowds are new for the team. McLean’s hockey team is technically a school club, so all funding comes from the players themselves. The club has not seen much publicity at all since it was created.

“We have to pay to rent out the rinks for home games and practices and all of our equipment,” Hughes said. “We also don’t get school recognition such as announcements for games so some of the students don’t know that we have a hockey team.” 

However, the increasingly rowdy crowds and building recognition from the school body makes the future of McLean hockey look bright.

“Obtaining a major victory in front of a large crowd should hopefully spread awareness of the McLean hockey team and more people may show up to our upcoming events,” Joyner said.

Hughes, though on the sidelines, sees the difference the crowds and publicity make on the success of the team.

“It’s so rewarding to the team to have so many fans cheering them on and motivating them to win,” Hughes said. “The energy at the games brings inspiration for the players to play their very best.”

While this was just one win, McLean knows they have more and store and are looking forward to a deep run this year.

“We expect to have many wins this season as we have many talented players who put in a lot of effort to help this team win,” Hughes said. “We also have amazing coaches who motivate the team and push the players to become better.”

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