Win­ning the ti­tle in sud­den death

Maryland Independent - - Sports - SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

On Feb. 29, the South­ern Mary­land Sabres U-18 Up­per A Travel Team, led by head coach Stacey Craft Sr. and as­sis­tant coach Gary Cote, com­peted against the Bal­ti­more Stars for the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Hockey League U-18 Up­per A Cham­pi­onship in Rich­mond, Va. The Sabres earned the No. 1 seed en­ter­ing the play­offs and de­feated the No. 4 seed Rich­mond Roy­als 8-1 in the open­ing round of the play­offs. The cham­pi­onship game be­tween the Sabres and No. 2 seed Bal­ti­more proved to be a fast, tough, low-scor­ing game. Dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son, Bal­ti­more de­feated the Sabres on its home ice and the Sabres de­feated Bal­ti­more in Bal­ti­more. Af­ter pe­riod 1 in the cham­pi­onship game, the score was tied 0-0. Bal­ti­more scored the first goal of the game early in pe­riod 2 and the Sabres tied the game at 1 late in pe­riod 2 with a goal from An­drew Bru­en­ing, as­sisted by CJ Craft. Just less than seven min­utes re­main­ing in pe­riod 3, the Sabres gained the lead with a goal from De­nis Kuzmi­nov, as­sisted by Bryce Leger. Bal­ti­more fought back and tied the game at 2 with just over three min­utes re­main­ing in the pe­riod. The game went to a sud­den-death over­time pe­riod and the Sabres never gave up an­other shot on goal to Bal­ti­more, thus goalie Cam Mack­iewicz played an­other great game in net stop­ping 20 of 22 shots on goal from Bal­ti­more. Just 48 sec­onds into over­time, An­to­nio Briggs-Blake won an of­fen­sive zone face-off to Eric John­ston, who as­sisted Jake Pilk­er­ton at the blue line for a sud­den-death over­time cham­pi­onship game-win­ning goal for the Sabres. This was a spe­cial mo­ment for the team and the fam­i­lies as many of the Sabres play­ers played their fi­nal CBHL game and are now mov­ing onto col­lege. Many of the Sabres play­ers have played Sabres hockey for nearly a decade. The cham­pi­onship was the first-ever Up­per-A Level CBHL Cham­pi­onship for the Sabres. Pic­tured, from left and front to back, are Cameron Mack­iewicz, De­nis Kuzmi­nov, Bryce Leger, Nick Di­gio­van­nan­to­nio, Sam Camiletti, CJ Craft, Eric John­ston, Hunter Stempin, as­sis­tant coach Gary Cote, Quinton Dade, Michael McGre­gor, JP Pilk­er­ton, Daniel Cote, An­drew Bru­en­ing, Greg Sowa, Parker Hop­kins, Bran­don Roth, An­to­nio Briggs-Blake, Wal­ter Burlack and head coach Stacey Craft.

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