The past two years host Gonzaga watched as other teams battled in the final of its National Capital Hockey Tournament. As they skidded through a string of five one-goal losses in six games this season, the Eagles seemed doomed to another early exit in the Washington area’s oldest high school hockey tournament.
But the young squad — which features 11 underclassmen on its 18-player roster — picked the perfect time to play its best hockey of the season. Seventh-ranked Gonzaga captured its fifth “Purple Puck” title in 19 years and first since 2008 on Friday with a 5-1 win over No. 4 Georgetown Prep at Fort Dupont Ice Arena.
“I’m not sure if the freshman really understand,” Gonzaga Coach Nate Jackson said. “If they don’t get it now, they’ll get it by the time they are seniors that this is a big deal.”
The Eagles — who beat the Little Hoyas 3-1 on Thursday in pool play — didn’t need much offense to take the title thanks to a stellar effort in goal from sophomore Nick Platais. The netminder stopped 24 of 25 shots in the final and held the Little Hoyas (6-3) scoreless over the game’s final 47 minutes 40 seconds.