ARLINGTON, Va. — A capacity crowd was on hand at the MedStar Capitals Iceplex to witness the 2023 Charity Hockey Game between the United States Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Fans were treated to 45 minutes of non-stop action, and three total goals. Unfortunately, the Secret Service scored only one of those goals; the FBI netted a shorthanded goal in the second period and the decisive game-winning goal late in the third period to prevail 2-1.
Right from the start, both teams played aggressive hockey that would’ve made the NHL’s Washington Capitals, who practice at the Iceplex, proud. Four minutes of steady, frenetic play enabled the Secret Service to score first and take the early 1-0 lead. Secret Service’s Will Rose cut into the left side of the FBI’s defense in the attacking zone, taking a pass from Special Agent Alex Scanzera. From there, Rose pulled off a wrister just inside the faceoff circle — and connected with the back of the net.
“I picked up the puck and skated diagonally to the right and I remember Will skating hard behind me," Scanzera said. “Once [the FBI defense] followed me to the right, that gave some open ice in front of Will, so I passed to the open space in front of him…it was a great shot.”
Rose ended the contest with three shots, two of them on goal.
“We were executing, firing on all cylinders,” Special Agent in Charge Melissa McKenzie said. “We looked strong, we were forechecking, we were putting a lot of heavy pressure on the offensive zone. We were playing well in our defensive zone and were learning the flow of the game.”
The Secret Service held their lead in the first period thanks to an impenetrable defense and key saves by goalie Brent Taylor, forcing the FBI had to take shots from distance. Ultimately, the Secret Service was outshot 49-23, but our team had a better percentage of shots on goal (65.2% to the FBI’s 59.1%).
Things changed during the second period. While the Secret Service team still played aggressive, high-speed hockey, the FBI squad was racking up penalty minutes. A tripping call against the FBI led to a Secret Service power play opportunity. Defenseman Ray Rose delivered six of his team-leading nine shots in this period, with an overwhelming majority of them during power plays.
However, a well-placed puck for the Bureau led to a shorthanded goal, leveling the game midway through the second period at 1-1. This rejuvenated the FBI as they ramped up the offense and fired 21 shots in the second period alone.
The FBI carried their offensive aggression into the third period, outshooting the Secret Service four to one in the first few minutes. But midway through the final stanza, the FBI crashed the net in front of Taylor. Through a bevy of bodies in a tight space, the puck rocked the wrong way for the Service. The FBI‘s Zach Markert slid the puck to the middle of the Service’s zone while Chris Hickey turned for a wrister of his own, putting the puck past Taylor for a top-shelf goal that proved to be the difference in the game.
“Second and third period we came out a little flat, and we got a little sloppier in the defensive zone,” said McKenzie, who played on defense in this year’s edition of the game. “The puck didn't fall our way.”
However, one thing certainly fell the Secret Service’s way, as well as for all the fans. A small drone that was collecting game footage crashed into the rafters with just under two minutes left in the game and fell on the ice. The crowd cheered for the intruder’s demise, but ultimately booed when drone recovery caused a stoppage of play.
The drone didn’t come close to Taylor, but if it did, he probably would’ve denied it entry into the net. Taylor ended the night stopping 27 of the 29 shots that came his way.
With 1:15 remaining in the period, Taylor was pulled from the net, enabling the Secret Service to add another player on the ice to attack. With the one-person advantage, the Service made a last gasp attempt to tie the contest. Adding to the cause was a late penalty on the FBI, giving the Secret Service a six-on-four opportunity with 16.5 seconds remaining.
The Secret Service orchestrated a couple chances, but the FBI was able to clear the puck across center ice as the final horn erupted. Going into the 2024 charity hockey game, the Secret Service is now riding a five-game losing skid to their rival.
Despite the Service’s loss, HEROES, Inc., was the real winner of Saturday’s game. Approximately $25,000 was raised for the charity, which benefits families of law enforcement officers and first responders killed in the line of duty.
Both Secret Service Director Kim Cheatle and FBI Director Chris Wray were on hand as DC101 host “Elliot in the Morning” introduced the son of fallen FBI agent Daniel Alfin for the ceremonial puck drop.
“The team has always consisted of incredible people. We trust each other with our lives in our jobs and on the ice—and we truly watch out for each other,” Secret Service captain Brendan Westphal said. Westphal has been part of the Secret Service’s hockey team since 1996. “This game has become a pretty large event through the years, not to mention an amazing way to support an incredible charity and our Secret Service and FBI families.”