The Hoyas start the season off with a bang! In the opening game of the 2013-2014 regular season, the boys in white pulled out a huge 4-0 victory over the Gaels of Mount Saint Joseph. With stellar performances from Jake Neeb (’16) and goaltender Barry Leese (’15) alongside a rowdy student section, the Hoyas cruised to victory.
To start the contest, the Hoyas took multiple tough penalties throughout the first period. With a relentless penalty kill along with numerous saves from netminder Barry Leese (’15), the Hoyas did not falter once. The boys showed their control over the Gaels early by finishing the period with nearly double the number of shots.
The good guys carried the momentum from the first over into the second stanza. Again, the Hoyas gave up penalties early, and the back and forth play continued. Late in the second, Captain Cole Taylor (’14) was sent to the sin bin for two minutes after a questionable call on head contact. The penalty kill, however, took matters into their own hands. With little time remaining in the period, Jack Olson (’15) alongside Jake Neeb (’16) barreled down the ice to an unlucky Gael defenseman. With a crisp pass from Jack in the corner onto the tape of Jake’s waiting stick, the sophomore put the puck in the back of the net to give the Hoyas a 1-0 lead off a shorthanded goal with just 2:57 remaining in the period.
4-on-4 play began the start of the third and final act. The Hoyas and Gaels exchanged penalties with just seconds remaining in the second to set the stage for the third period. After both teams killed off their penalties, Prep began its best period of the contest. After an offside call, Captain Cole Taylor (’14) lined up for the faceoff in the neutral zone. Cole “dangle-snipe-celly” Taylor truly showed the audience where the nickname comes from. After winning the faceoff around the opposing center, he dangled his way through the MSJ line showing off his soft hands and raw speed. Coming up on the Gaels’ netminder, he ripped the biscuit near side with a ring off the crossbar that could be heard throughout the entire rink. The unassisted goal came as the Hoyas’ second of the night giving them a 2-0 lead with just 11:00 remaining in the contest.
Throughout the rest of the match, the Hoyas, especially Jake Neeb (’16), had complete control. With just 4:39 remaining in the period, Jake collected the puck off a faceoff win by Assistant Captain Ryan Howe (’14) and finished a beautiful wrap around to give the Hoyas a commanding 3-0 lead. With his second goal of the night, the big sophomore was not yet done. Just 27 seconds later, he took a pass from Jack Olson (’15) in the corner to net his third goal as the two connected for the second time that game. With just 4:03 remaining, things started to get chippy between the two teams. After a slight altercation behind the MSJ net, it was clear this game was not going to end peacefully. Although the Gaels at one point had a 5-on-3 advantage with just minutes remaining, Barry Leese (’15) and the defense did not slip once as Barry stood on his head to ensure he would get his well-deserved shutout.
As the final buzzer rang, the Hoyas finished the night with four goals and thirty-seven shots. Jake Neeb earned an impressive hat trick and Barry Leese, along with help from an unyielding defense led by senior Assistant Captains Lazar Zamurovic and Matt Billings, had a perfect save percentage. Strong introductory performances by freshmen Max Newnam, MacDowell Johnston and speedy Johnny “Mac” Mulera, as well as tough performances by sophomores Blaine Green and Michael Melch, bode well for the future success of the Hoyas. With the first game in the books, the Hoyas take this momentum with them as they travel next Monday to face a tough Calvert Hall.