Half of the SHL’s inaugural championship matchup is now set, as the Washington Galaxy have clinched the Eastern Division. The Galaxy entered the final week closer to wrapping up the division title, holding a 9-point lead over the New York Night. Their plans for a quick clinch hit a speed bump, though, when starting goalie Roger Orion went down with a lower-body injury, reportedly sustained during practice.
“We all kind of got a bit nervous when Roger went down,” admitted Galaxy LW Walt Camernitz. “He’s been a stone wall for us back there, and we didn’t want to go to war without him.”
Washington’s concern only deepened when backup netminder Gus Parrish was shelled in back-to-back outings. Fortunately, though, Parrish rebounded with a win in his next start, beating Hershey 4-3, and the Galaxy officially clinched the division when the Night lost 7-5 to Hamilton.
The team celebrated in the locker room by spraying each other with beer, champagne, ketchup, mustard, and anything else they could find. They also sang several rounds of the singing cows’ jingle from the Hershey’s Chocolate World exhibit that the team visited at the beginning of the season. “I used to hate that damn song,” said Galaxy C J.C Marais, “but I’m enjoying it pretty well now.”
Coach Rodney Reagle praised his team for their consistent effort throughout the season. “We did it!” shouted Reagle, his voice a bit hoarse from singing and his eyes moist. “We showed, from wire to wire, that we were the class of this division. Everyone in here made that happen. You hit it hard in practice, you didn’t let losses get you down, and you kept up through the grind of a long season. I know everybody’s gonna call us the underdogs in the championship, but I wouldn’t bet against us! You’re the guys I want in the trenches with me.”
LW Casey Thurman, who led the Galaxy in goals with 40, likes his team’s chances going forward. “We’ve got a well-balanced squad, tough on both ends of the ice,” said Thurman. “We can match up well with anybody, and we do a good job at playing the game that’s presented to us. I know it’s not going to be an easy fight for the trophy, but we’re ready.”