- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
And then there were two.
The Maryland Student Hockey League’s Chesapeake Cup was decided by some familiar foes after Northern and Huntingtown battled for the championship Thursday night at the Capital Clubhouse in Waldorf.
The game ended too late for inclusion into this edition.
The top-seeded Patriots (11-1 overall) punched their ticket to the final with an 8-1 win over St. Mary’s Ryken and the second-seeded Hurricanes (12-9) secured their berth following an 8-5 victory over Leonardtown. Northern and Huntingtown have squared off twice this season, with each team winning once.
The Patriots started off slowly against the Knights (8-9-1) as they scored their first goal of the game almost midway through the opening period but never looked back as they finished the period with five goals. The two Michaels — Santiago and Carr — each scored twice for the Patriots and Kyle Kampsen, Braeden McFadyen, Tristan Beeson and Kerry Henegar each added singles. Carr also added three assists and Santiago and Chris Ruyter each had two assists. James Layman made 15 saves.
Stephen Meyers scored the lone goal for the Knights off an assist by Patrick Bouchard and goalie Tucker Rhodes stopped 38 shots.
Huntingtown joined its county rival in the title game, thanks in large part to Tyler Sullivan’s four-goal night. Bryce Oursler, Joey Laiosa, Ben Camilletti and Matt Scott each scored once. Camilletti also added three assists, Oursler had two helpers and Sullivan and Colin Gray each added one, while Kody Powers made 37 saves in the Hurricanes net.
Huntingtown led 5-4 after two periods, but clinched the win after scoring three of four third-period goals.
Leonardtown (9-7) was led by Nicholas Pontorno, who scored his team’s first four goals. Cullen Bonnel scored once and had two assists and Pontorno, Alec Guarnero and Nick Wright each added one assist.
Joe Molina was credited with 19 saves in the Leonardtown goal.
The third-seeded Raiders earned their berth in the semifinals after rolling to an 11-0 quarterfinal win over Thomas Stone on Tuesday.
“I told the guys that we were going to play a two-man forecheck and be very aggressive and we’re going to put the pedal down and we’re not going to let up,” Raiders head coach Gordy Bonnel said.
Bonnel ripped a shot top shelf 2 minutes 45 seconds into the game and the Raiders built a 4-0 first-period lead.
Guarnero converted a give-and-go with Bonnel on a two-man advantage to make it 5-0 and Pontorno scored two shorthanded goals in a nine-second span to put the Raiders up by seven after two periods.
Leonardtown added four more goals over the final 15 minutes. Molina played the first two periods in goal for the Raiders and shared the shutout with Nathan Hanson, who came on in relief to start the third.
Sixth-seeded Stone (3-11) was held to five shots on goal.
“We’re just not going to get that much momentum going anyways,” Stone first-year head coach Tim Higgins said. “We don’t have any significant offense. “We’ve been off for [21 days] and it showed. In fact, a lot of kids weren’t even aware there was a game tonight.”
Kira Maginnis made 19 saves in the Stone goal, several from point-blank range.
The Cougars did not win a single game last season and the players voiced their goal at the beginning of this year to beat that by one.
“The kids set a goal for one win [this season] and we held one practice and I said, ‘We’re going to restructure this goal’ and we set it for four and we got that,” said Higgins, who was including his team’s season-opening win over Bowie, though it later had to forfeit the game because it had used an ineligible player. “In some areas [we’ve improved better than I expected] and in some areas not. The kids have really tried to do what I’ve asked and by what I’ve shown them to do and some of them are just limited by inexperience. There’s a lot of kids that are just new to the game and to their credit they try and give it everything they’ve got.”
Higgins’ goal of four wins raised some eyebrows.
‘We were all like, ‘What is this guy thinking?’,” Stone junior Cameron Cassidy said. “We had no idea how we were going to do it because half the team was new and half the team was defense. [But] we just worked hard in practice and worked with the new kids to make sure they got better. Everyone got a lot better.”
And now Cassidy is the one with lofty goals.
“Next year we’re going to go undefeated,” he said with a big smile.
The fourth-seeded Knights claimed their quarterfinal win after breaking open a one-goal game and scoring the last eight goals of the game in an 11-2 win over La Plata.
“I think we got a lot of lucky breaks today,” Ryken head coach Chris Palombi said. “Obviously, La Plata came out and played a very physical game against us but every game, every line gets their breaks and I thought we caught a lot more than they did.”
The loss ran the Warriors’ winless streak to seven games.
“It was too easy, we were too easy to play against,” La Plata co-head head Geoff Howard said as fellow coach Matt Golanka nodded nearby in approval. “The compete level’s not there most nights, mental mistakes and I have turnovers written on my piece of paper over and over again. We’re just too easy for other teams to play against.”
The Knights led 3-2 when Nathan Blondino’s hard shot from the right faceoff circle squeaked by goalie Trevor Abell just 47 seconds after La Plata’s Zeke Cochran had pulled his team to within one. Meyers added to the Ryken lead when his long shot eluded Abell.
“[Abell’s] come a long way and kept us in some games this year, but on the other hand, it’s a team game, so if our guys are backchecking or our defensemen are playing five feet off the guy instead of in, his chest [they never get those shots off],” Howard said. “Yeah, Trevor needs to stop those, but at the same time they shouldn’t be getting those shots off.”
Before the period was over, Evan Brennan and Meyers each scored and Ryken led 7-2.
Rhodes made 19 saves, but his best was his breakaway stop on Joshua Wenzinger in the third. Wenzinger came in alone, deeked right, went left, but Rhodes threw out his right pad to stop the shot.
La Plata (4-12-1) had 11 underclassmen on its 17-player roster.
“We have a young team but we’ve got to become more difficult to play against,” Howard said. “We make too many mental mistakes, we’re not physical and I don’t care what you say, if you don’t play physical, you make it too easy on the other team. This year it was fun working with these kids, but there’s some very basic things we’re going to have to go back and reevaluate and next year we’re improved.”
Junior defenseman Eric Brawner agrees with his coach.
“I think we learned as a team but we’re still a younger team,” he said. “It’s tough because most of the players don’t know how high school hockey works and how fast-paced it is. Basically [we need to] just work on the fundamentals and just play harder.”