- 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 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.
“[Our game plan] was coming out strong and coming out as a team and just working all together,” Cullen Bonnel said. “It was good to come out strong at first and then we just laid back a little bit.”
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.
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.
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.
Before the period was over, Evan Brennan and Meyers each scored and Ryken led 7-2.
“We would get a takeaway down low and then it was pass-pass [up the ice] and get some good shots,” said Blondino, who missed a huge chunk of the season with a knee injury. “Once you get one [goal], then everybody gets one and then I think the whole team believed we could win and we started playing defensively well.”
Blondino, who will play lacrosse at West Point, was moved to defense when he returned to the ice on Jan. 30.
“It’s a big change from offense to defense and I’m not used to it,” Blondino said, “but just playing hockey for a long time and having teammates help me out and Tucker telling me where to go makes it easy.”
In return, A.J. Fortescue was moved from the back line up top and Palombi said the move has paid off for both players.
“[Blondino] does a great job of seeing open ice,” Palombi said, “and A.J. has that two-way player mentality he can adjust on the fly and get back on defense.”
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.
“You just want to stay up as long as you can and hope he shoots at you,” Rhodes said of his breakaway strategy. “I just guess half the time [which way the shooter will go]. The defense played real well, there were a lot of shot blocks out in front, so I just picked up what I could. We played as a team and passed to our teammates, got shots on net and played good defense and blocked shots.”
La Plata (4-12-1) had 11 underclassmen on its 17-player roster.