GW's final weekend of the season was as up-and-down as they come, but a strong finish over UVA is exactly what the team needed heading in to playoffs.
On Thursday in Annapolis, GW played Navy in their final league game - a makeup match. Although the game counted in the ACCHL standings, playoff matchups were already locked in. Perhaps overlooking the match, or not being ready for Navy's Olympic-sized sheet, GW dropped a 5-1 decision to a tenacious Navy squad.
On Saturday, GW knew it was in for a matchup that would be a preview of the level of intensity it will see next weekend at playoffs as they faced UVA - one of two teams who finished higher than GW in the ACCHL standings. The teams battled to a 4-3 UVA win just a week earlier, and that intensity went straight through to this matchup as the teams battled to a 0-0 tie through the first period. Scoring finally opened late in the second period as UVA would net two goals within a minute of each other around the six minute mark. With a string of bad second periods behind them, GW resolved to not let this one slip away and scored two power play goals a minute apart from each other around the two minute mark. The first a point blast by sophomore defenseman Zack Smolev, the other a one-timer by senior forward Max Terhar. The teams would take a 2-2 tie into the third, where the goals really started to come around the halfway mark. GW would open up the scoring in the third on a goal by senior forward Luke Yerkovich. UVA would respons a minute later to tie the game a 3-3, and then score around the 6-miunte mark to take a 4-3 lead. After a timeout by Coach Jon Moynihan, GW battled and took the lead back on goals by freshman forward Will Yerkovich and senior forward Nick Ryan. UVA would tie the game up at 5-5 less than a minute later. However, just 20 seconds later, a point shot by sophomore defenseman Austin Fruchter would be tipped by grad student forward Ryan Ferizovic into the top corner to give GW the 6-5 win. Freshman goalie Alec Astorga would get the win in net saving 34 of 39 shots.
The split in the final weekend gives GW a 13-5-2 record to finish the season. As the #3 seed, they will face #6 Duke on Friday, February 19th at 9:30pm at Main Street Arena in Charlottesville.
If you haven't yet, please consider donating to the team as we could use a final fund raising bump to get us through our playoff costs and set up a nest egg for over-the-summer costs. For more information, please visit the SUPPORT page.
Photo credit: Matt Ricciardi