By Hanna Duenkel
Ashburn (Feb. 12, 2015) – It’s a little known fact that the Northern Virginia Scholastic Hockey League (NVHSL) exists. So when Loudoun County High School hosted the combined Tuscarora-Heritage team on Feb. 6 at the Ashburn Ice House, the game was very intimate. The rivalries between Loudoun County, Tuscarora and Heritage were visible, yet the Huskies and Pride have to put their crosstown differences aside once the puck drops.
The game started out quickly, with the first goal of the match up whizzing from the center of the right face off circle and past the Loudoun County goalie Dan Toth just 41 seconds in. Tuscarora-Heritage defenseman Zack Jones’ first of three goals created the fast paced tempo that both teams kept up with, flinging shots from the blue line and stampeding the goal, which blocked the goaltender’s vision and allowed the puck to slip into the netting.
“I think that it was just a lot of ice time and the puck just bounced my way,” said Jones of his hat trick.
It took just over six minutes until the reaction goal by Loudoun County’s Jack Klerekoper slid past Tuscarora-Heritage goalie Grant Pluth and evened out the score for the first of four times that night.
Loudoun County continued on a shooting streak with Klerekoper’s second goal, a slapshot from the blue line that skidded by Pluth to give the home team the upper hand.
With Loudoun County leading 2-1, the score was not tied again until just under five minutes into the second period, when Tuscarora-Heritage forward Kat Burke scored in a penalty kill situation caused by a cross checking penalty by teammate Kyle Torrance which began only 22 seconds before.
The shorthanded goal brought the team to a level score with their rivals, but the tie was short-lived, when Klerekoper scored two more goals in a 19-second span in the second period raising the Raiders’ lead to 4-2.
“Coach told us to be careful about getting penalties and play smart,” Tuscarora-Heritage forward Ali Adra said. “We all focused and did our part, and the whole team came together and made it happen.”
The final goal of the busy second period was by Tuscarora-Heritage forward Ryan Torrance which started Tuscarora-Heritage’s comeback.
For at least the first half of the third quarter, the game was close, with Loudoun County’s Logan Kelliher scoring in the first nine seconds and then Tuscarora-Heritage responding a minute-and-a-half later with another goal by Jones during a power play for Tuscarora-Heritage.
Loudoun County’s Klerekoper was in the penalty box due to a cross checking penalty and was serving his two minutes when Jones sent a slap shot from point position straight to the goal.
“We always have a game plan. Before the game, we really talked about what we would do on a power play and how we’d capitalize on it,” Tuscarora-Heritage forward Cameron Florence said. “It was all about execution and how we’d get the puck into place. I think that it turned out really well for us.”
From there, Tuscarora-Heritage dominated the final few minutes of the period, connecting slick passes and tossing pucks into the nets through well executed passes and shots. Tuscarora-Heritage’s Matt Moore had a quick wrist shot that zoomed past Toth, evening out the score for the final time in the game.
A little over a minute later, Tuscarora-Heritage’s Kyle Torrance gave his team the go-ahead goal and the Huskies-Pride never looked back.
The Raiders pulled their goalie late in the third period giving Tuscarora-Heritage an opportunity to add cushion to their lead.
“I didn’t see the goal wide open. I just got the puck and I didn’t know what I was going to do with it. Time was running low and it turned into a high scoring game,” Florence said.
With this win, Tuscarora-Heritage broke their six game losing streak by defeating their rivals.
On Feb. 8, Tuscarora-Heritage ended their season with a 10-6 loss to Bishop Ireton High School.
Hanna Duenkel is a sophomore at Tuscarora High School in Leesburg. Follow LoCoSports on Twitter (@LoCoSports) for up-to-date news and scores from around Loudoun County.
1P 0:41 T-H Zack Jones
1P 7:25 LC Jack Klerekoper
1P 13:09 LC Jack Klerekoper
2P 4:53 T-H Zack Jones (short-handed)
2P 10:42 LC Jack Klerekoper
2P 11:01 LC Jack Klerekoper
2P 13:04 T-H Ryan Torrance
3P 0:09 LC Logan Kelliher
3P 1:39 T-H Zack Jones (power play)
3P 7:24 T-H Matt Moore
3P 8:43 T-H Ryan Torrance
3P 9:17 T-H Cameron Florence
3P 10:38 T-H Kat Burke
3P 13:48 T-H Cameron Florence (empty net)