By: Joe Cicchino - Sports Information Assistant
FORT WASHINGTON -- Some people enjoy receiving a box of chocolates or a bouquet of roses on Valentine's Day, but not Germantown Academy's ice hockey team. The Patriots prefer the finer things, like silver. Luckily for them, they had a chance to get some with a win in the Independence Hockey League Championship.
A year ago, the Patriots found themselves in a similar situation and came away with a 6-1 win over Pennington. This year against Springside Chestnut Hill, the game was closer, but the result was a 7-3 GA win.
"Everyone did fabulous," Head Coach John Fields said. "I think everybody followed our team leader, Jake Landmesser '19. Jake put them on his back and they followed him. Moseley Schwartz '20 played 43 minutes and scored a huge goal to give us a cushion. He played phenomenal all year. Jake Dierks '22, Parker [Chisholm '21]-- two young guys back on defense -- just amazing. Nicky Saldutti '21, there's a kid who peaked at the right time. He became a complete player."
The scoring got started early for GA. Liam Rosato '19 found the back of the net less than a minute into the game. SCH answered in at the 8:24 mark, but a goal by Landmesser and two by Will Reardon '22 gave the Patriots a 4-1 lead.
The Blue Devils struck first in the second, but Saldutti added a goal of his own as an answer. SCH scored once more, keeping things close, but Schwartz tacked on his goal with less than a minute in the period. Scott Cho '19 added the final goal for GA.
Landmesser said the game was "a little closer than we liked," but he felt good after the win.
"Winning a championship is always special," Landmesser said. "Even being up by three goals, we haven't really been that close all season. It was different. We had to keep going in the second and keep playing hard."
Before the season, the Patriots had serious question marks. They did not have a starting goalkeeper and were without Landmesser for a series of games. However, through hard work, they found an answer.
"It just tells you about the work ethic these guys have," Fields said. "Jamie Werther '19 had never put pads on before. Went to lessons three or four months ago and strapped them on. He had 30 something shots tonight. He never gave up. What a great kid."
Landmesser, Cho and Rosato -- GA's other seniors -- all scored in the win. Needless to say, it was a fitting end for a group that helped build the program.
"What we've been able to change was the culture," Fields said. "The seniors were the tip of the sword. Those guys came in and showed the work ethic that it takes to be a winner. You can't win championships without character guys. You win championships with guys like Liam Rosato and Scott Cho."
The result in the championship gives GA two titles in the same amount of years. It is a welcomed turn around, seeing as the team lost two straight just a few years ago. Landmesser said that the feat was "crazy."
He added that winning back-to-back titles is rare, and seeing everyone come back and work even harder was "great".
"It's great being able to be a part of something and make a real change," Landmesser said. "The program was already on the way up when we came in and turned it around. It was great to have a winning program and support the school and represent GA."
The Patriots end the season with a perfect 12-0 record. During the year, they compiled 73 goals, while only allowing 19.