Stone, LaPax ice hockey teams skate to a tie
Hayes nets three for Cougars in ice hockey contest
Derek McKee’s power-play marker with less than seven minutes remaining in the third period helped the LaPax ice hockey squad earn a 3-3 tie with Thomas Stone in a Maryland Student Hockey League Southern Conference contest on Fri- day at the Capital Clubhouse in Waldorf.
LaPax — which consists of players from La Plata, Great Mills, Calvert, Calverton and Chopticon — led 1-0 and 2-1 but needed the late goal from McK- ee to salvage the tie.
“We had the odd man and it was a three-on-two and the guy stuffed the other guy, so I knew I had the lane,” McKee said of the goal. “My teammate Alex [Harvey] made a great pass and I just finished it with a one-timer in slot.”
Hunter Blumenstein drew the secondary assist on the goal.
The win was the third in four games for LaPax, which had previously earned a one-goal victory over St. Mary’s Ryken II and Leonardtown.
“I think when you look at this team and its capability we’re a better team because everybody’s contributing,” LaPax head coach Joey Martel said. His team’s next scheduled contest is at 7:15 p.m. Friday at Bowie. “They’re getting along, which is great and they’re pass- ing [to each other] so it means they trust one another. When it comes to the level of passwork and teamwork no one’s arguing, no one’s getting too upset on the bench so I’m happy where we’re at. I’m content.”
LaPax (2-1-1, 2-1-1 MSHL Southern Conference) opened the scoring when Garrett Estep skated down the right side and wristed a shot short side past Stone goaltender Garrett Cher- ry at 9 minutes 38 seconds of the first period.
Cherry was bombarded at the end of the period when he was forced to make five saves in the last 25 seconds. Cherry,
who was originally scheduled to play for LaPax, but transferred to Stone when LaPax needed a goalie, finished with 41 saves.
“He played out of his mind tonight,” Stone head coach Jay Groce said. His team’s next scheduled contest is at 6:45 tonight versus Leonardtown at Capital Clubhouse. “He was a rock back there for us.”
The Cougars (1-2-1, 0-21) — comprised of players from Thomas Stone, McDonough, North Point, Westlake and Lackey — tied the game when Garrett Hayes scored the first of three goals on the power-play 6:05 into the middle stanza.
LaPax regained the lead on Trevor Reece’s unas- sisted marker, but Stone tied the game 13 seconds later when Hayes picked off a clearing pass and fired a shot home.
Hayes, a junior at North Point, is now second in scoring in the Southern Conference with six goals in four games.
“I felt like I had a pretty good game, but of course I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” he said. “There was a lot of communication down there on the ice so we knew where each other was so we could make some plays.
“I’m very excited with how the team’s playing. We’ve lost some guys, but I’m proud of how we’re doing. Win or lose we’re try- ing our best every game.”
“We don’t know who’s going to step up from night to night, but it was just his night tonight,” Groce said of Hayes. “He’s a team guy and when he has an opportunity to take it up he does and the guys fall back and cover him. He’s a heart and soul guy, very unselfish.”
Hayes completed the hat trick a few minutes into the final period, but McKee’s tally earned each team a point.
“Our guys are smaller, but this season more than any other season it’s the level of passing as far as give-and-gos, and work- ing together as a unit this team has demonstrated more than any other skill,” Martel said. “Most teams struggle with that, but that’s what generated 44 shots on net. They’re lis- tening to me which is nice, but it’s the passing that makes this team.”
“We could have done a little better; we made some mistakes here and there, but yeah I’m happy,” said McKee, a junior at La Plata. “I’m not disappoint- ed, a bit upset I guess [we squandered two leads] but overall it was a good game.”
Groce said he was pleased with his squad for battling back from a pair of deficits.
“I’m so proud of the boys and how they battled back,” said Groce, whose depth limited him to just two lines. “They showed a lot of heart tonight and that’s what we’ve been seeing all season long. I’m very, very pleased with how they did. Even on the bench they didn’t get discouraged and kept encouraging one another and kept saying, ‘We can get it back’ and went on the ice and worked as a team and made it happen.”
LaPax’s Derek McKee and Stone goaltender Garrett Cherry reach for the puck as Stone defender Garrett Hayes moves in to help defend in Friday’s contest at Capital Clubhouse in Waldorf. McKee scored in the contest as the teams skated to a 3-3 tie.
Stone’s Damien Hock, right, looks for a passing lane past LaPax defender Ryan Carroll in Friday’s contest at Capital Clubhouse in Waldorf. The teams skated to a 3-3 tie.