Raiders, Patriots play for the Cup
L-town edges H-town, Northern routs Stone in ice hockey semifinals
And then there were two. Leonardtown and Northern will go head-tohead for the right to skate around the ice with the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League Southern Conference’s Chesapeake Cup tonight at the Capital Clubhouse in Waldorf after each team prevailed in the semifinals on Wednesday evening. The Raiders are the defending champions. “We started off the year basically at the bot- tom of the division,” said Leonardtown first head coach Jerry Leger, who lost 12 seniors to graduation. “But everybody was commit- ted and played as a team and if we play as a team, we’re stronger than individual players and they’ve bought off on that. Northern’s a very tough team, but without a doubt we’re excited as heck.”
“I’m very excited, especially because we weren’t supposed to be as successful as we were,” Leonardtown defenseman Catie Corolla said of heading to the final, “so we can prove people wrong.”
Northern last won the hardware in 2008 when it captured its third straight championship.
“They’re all excited about it,” Patriots head coach Erik Larsen said. “They’ve worked hard. They built some momentum coming into tonight and we’re looking to continue [that momentum].”
“The key [in the final] will be to keep the puck in their zone and make them play defense,” Northern goaltender Cam Masters said. “We want to take away their offensive threats.”
The championship is scheduled for 6:30 tonight at the Capital Clubhouse.
The third-seeded Raiders (8-5-1 overall) punched their ticket to the final when Myles Mayshark-Hamlin scored the eventual winning goal in the third period for a 5-4 win over second-seeded Huntingtown.
It appeared that Hurri- canes goaltender Camer- on Mackiewicz had made the initial save, but the puck squirted out and Mayshark-Hamlin banged it home 4 minutes 20 sec- onds into the period.
“When I see an oppor- tunity I crash the net and I saw his leg stick- ing out and the puck on the very tip of his skate,” Mayshark-Hamlin said. “I pulled it out and pushed it back in. It was a simple goal.”
The Hurricanes (8-32) pulled to within a goal on Easton Cipressi’s tally with just less than three minutes remaining, but the Raiders held on.
Leonardtown led 3-0 in the first only to see Huntingtown storm back with three goals in a 91-second span over the first and second periods, thanks in large part to a slew of pen- alties.
“We had some mental breakdowns and we started to chase because we felt the pressure was on us,” Leger said. “We got away from playing our game. And we drew some penalties, so that hurt. It was discipline at that point. But they also have some great players, and there’s nothing we can do about that.”
“I think we got a little panicky,” Corolla said. “That happened last game we played them, but once we got our heads back in the game things started going the way we wanted. It definitely made us play better.”
Bryce Leger, Jesse Haf- fer, Andrew Severson and Merrick Kibler each scored once for the Raiders. Mayshark-Hamlin also added two assists and Matthew Corolla made 24 saves.
Sam Nyman scored twice for the Hurricanes and Cy Harwood scored once. Cipressi also added two helpers.
“The effort was out- standing and they never gave up,” Huntington head coach John Krohn said. “Everyone’s deject- ed because we didn’t get the win. It’s tough to lose a one-goal game. I’m very pleased with our season. You could see that as the season went on they really started to jell.”
“I think we came out a little too cocky,” said Mackiewicz, who made 19 saves. “But we came back and everybody showed a lot of effort throughout the game and never gave up.”
The top-seeded Patriots (12-1) received five points from Justin Lantz on its way to a 7-1 drubbing over fourth-seeded Thomas Stone in the other semifi- nal contest.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge coming into this game, but we played hard, especially with the amount of hurdles we had to overcome at the begin- ning of the season,” said Stone’s Christian Coombs, referring in part to losing four players since opening night. “I feel like we did pretty good.”
Lantz had two goals and three assists and Brian Middledorf added three points (2 goals, 1 assist). Justin Robinson, Wesley Crofoot and Thomas Bruening each had one goal. Robinson also added two assists.
The Cougars (5-7-1) received a goal from Cody Bottorf off an assist by An- thony Adams.
“Northern’s a tough team. They’re fourth in the state and No. 1 in the Southern [Conference] for a reason,” Stone head coach Jay Grove said. “I’m just really proud how they came [to play] every night. We were a short team this year, but the un- derclassmen have learned a lot.”
“I think it was a very productive and successful season,” Botttorf said. “I’m really proud how the team played all season. We played as a team and I saw a lot of improvement from Day 1. Remarkable changes.”
Tuesday in the tourna- ment’s quarterfinal round, Stone’s Parker Hopkins and Shane Purnell scored during a 48-second span early in the third period to break open a close game and the Cougars went on to double LaPax, 6-3.
Stone held a slim 2-1 advantage, but Hopkins scored 1:33 into the third and Purnell made it 4-1 less than a minute later.
Purnell finished with two goals and Bottorf, Damien Hock and Garrett Hayes each scored once. Hock also added three as- sists and Hayes, Hopkins, Coombs and Kristof Lile each added one helper. Garrett Cherry made 31 saves.
The fifth-seeded Pan- thers (4-7-2), which are comprised of teams from La Plata, Patuxent, Calver t, The Calverton School and Chopticon, received a goal and an assist from Trevor Reece.
“Tonight’s game was arguably the most com- plete game we have put together,” Grove said. “Our captains [Hopkins, Hock and Bottorf] stepped up both on the bench and on the ice showing great composure and genuine leadership [and] our underclassmen responded by stepping up in a big way, notably freshman Shane Purnell. Everyone ... stepped up to keep at bay a well-coached hardcharging LaPax squad.”
In the other semifinal, Bryce Leger had four points as Leonardtown downed St. Mary’s Ryken II, 6-1.
Leger had a hat trick and an assist for the Raiders, while Mayshark-Hamlin and Andrew Severson each had a goal and an assist. George Matthews also scored and Catie Corolla had two assists. Jesse Haffer and Mason Gibbs each had one assist and Matthew Corolla made 13 saves.
The sixth-seeded Knights (4-10-1) scored their only goal on a marker by Troy Tallant with an assist from Ian House. Colin Lombardi turned in a 20-save night.
Northern’s Justin Lantz gets a scoring chance against Stone goaltender Garrett Cherry during Wednesday night’s MSHL Southern Conference tournament semifinal contest. The Patriots won 7-1 to advance to tonight’s final versus Leonardtown.
Northern’s Brian Middledorf has his scoring attempt thwarted by Stone goaltender Garrett Cherry during Wednesday night’s MSHL Southern Conference tournament semifinal contest. The Patriots won 7-1 to advance to tonight’s final versus Leonardtown.