The Washington Jr. Nationals made a strong statement last weekend in the New England College Classic in Simsbury, CT. Both the AJHL and MJHL 'Nats competed in the non-league showcase, which was heavily scouted by many NCAA Division I, Div. III, and ACHA coaches.
The Nationals AJHL team started the weekend against Bridgton Academy Prep (Maine). The Nationals brought a high-intensity forecheck from the beginning, but costly turnovers as well as a hot Bridgton goaltender would prove to be the difference. Washington's Aaron Madsen tipped home the only Nationals goal as Bridgton Academy took the win, 4-1.
The Nationals came into Saturday's contest with National Sports Academy (Lake Placid, NY) with an entirely different mentality. Washington went on the offensive without letting up, winning the game 5-1. The 'Nats team-first mentality created a broad range of scorers. Jacob Thomas, Adam Devine, Ian Patrican, Gordy Bonnel, and Daniel Shirilla all found their way on the scoresheet against NSA.
To finish up the weekend, the Nationals took down their immediate superiors in the standings, the Laconia Leafs, 3-2. This was the fifth time the Nationals have faced off against the Leafs. After losing the first three games against Laconia this season, the 'Nats have won the past two. Playing on an Olympic-sized ice surface allowed the 'Nats to take advantage of a passive Laconia defense. Washington did not waste any time getting on the board Sunday morning as Ian Patrican fired a rocket on the Nationals' first power play of the game. The Nationals proved to be in much better physical condition than the Leafs, and as the game progressed Washington was able to capitalize on more opportunities. Jacob Thomas buried a rebound in front of the Leaf's net for the second goal, and Aaron Madsen's beautiful breakaway shot would be the final marker for the Nationals.
The Washington Jr. Nationals now set their sights on this weekend's match up against the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers. The Nationals will travel to West Chester, PA on Friday for a noon game and then will face the Jr. Flyers at home on Saturday at 2:45. This weekend will be the last two games for the 'Nats before Winter Break and the EJHL Showcase on January 4-6.
Written by Sam Buck #21