Tak­ing the Cup

North­ern ice hockey downs Leonard­town for cham­pi­onship

Maryland Independent - - Taking The Cup - By MICHAEL REID mreid@somd­news.com Twit­ter: @SOMDhab­s­fan

Brian Mid­dle­dorf said one of his goals at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son was for North­ern to win the Mary­land Scholas­tic Hockey League South­ern Con­fer­ence’s Ch­e­sa­peake Cup.

And Mid­dle­dorf did ex­actly that Fri­day at the Cap­i­tal Club­house in Wal­dorf as he scored the first four goals of the game in a 6-2 win over Leonard­town.

The cham­pi­onship was the first since 2011 for the top-seeded Pa­tri­ots (13-1 over­all), who top­pled the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons.

“It’s very ex­cit­ing for my se­nior year and def­i­nitely my goal,” Mid­dle­dorf said. “I’m very happy about it.”

“I’m real proud of the guys how they’ve played all sea­son,” North­ern head coach Erik Larsen said. “They played hard all sea- son. They de­served it. I’m very happy for all of them.”

The loss proved to be a dou­ble-whammy for the third-seeded Raiders (86-1), who were also elim- inated from state play­off con­tention.

The Raiders, who had up­set Hunt­ing­town in the semi­fi­nals, went into the game on a five-game win streak.

“That con­cerned us too be­cause it added more to Leonard­town’s in­cen­tive,” Larsen said. “They weren’t go­ing to give it to us.”

The South­ern Con­fer- ence sends two rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the state tourna- ment and Leonard­town’s loss sealed a berth for the Hur­ri­canes, who had more points in the state rank­ings.

“We started off [the sea­son] to­ward the bot- tom and then it’s been a climb,” Leonard­town head coach Jerry Leger said. “The play­ers bought into the sys­tem, played po­si­tional hockey and we kept get­ting bet­ter every week. With­out a doubt this is the best team we’ve played and I thought they did a good job.”

“I’m ex­tremely proud of every sin­gle kid on this team and by the ef­fort and how hard they worked and how far we’ve come to­gether,” Leonard­town for­ward Bryce Leger said. “Just the fact we made it to this game is out­stand­ing.”

Mid­dle­dorf threw a wrench into Leonard- town’s cham­pi­onship as- pi­ra­tions when he scored on a screen shot 9 min- utes 1 sec­ond into the first pe­riod.

“We knew they had the up­set against Hunt­ing- town so they’d have the mo­men­tum com­ing in and so we knew we want- ed to jump on them early, but it was tough at the start,” Larsen said. “Brian re­ally came through for us and got us go­ing.”

Mid­dle­dorf changed the course of the game when he tal­lied twice in a 43-sec­ond span late in the open­ing pe­riod.

“Yeah, I think [it was one of those nights],” Mid­dle­dorf said. “I was just get­ting pucks to the net and I was for­tu­nate enough that they were go­ing in.”

“We were try­ing not to hang our heads and just push for­ward,” Bryce Leger said af­ter the twogoal frenzy. “We had to put more in­ten­sity forth than we had be­fore. We could have still come back from that and I think we did a lit­tle bit.”

The two goals helped Mid­dle­dorf com­plete his nat­u­ral hat trick in just 5:16.

“There’s one player on their team that made a dif­fer­ence,” Jerry Leger said of Mid­dle­dorf. “We tried to match up with him and for the most part we did a good job of keep­ing him to the out­side and not get to places that were threat­en­ing, but he’s big and phys­i­cal and there were a few times he was able to get free and make a dif­fer­ence. Most of the shots he took were low-per­cent­age shots and they just went in and that hurt. He’s got a ridicu­lous shot and he was pick­ing cor­ners. He’s re­ally good, and [tonight] he had some luck on his side, too.”

The two goals came shortly af­ter Leonard­town failed to con­vert on a brief two-man ad­van­tage.

“We had that 5-on-3 penalty [kill] and that con­cerned us, but [killing it off] gave us a bit of mo­men­tum and got us go­ing and once we got some goals they kept on com- ing,” Larsen said. “It real- ly worked out well. The guys played good de­fense all around, so we got the con­trol we wanted.”

Leonard­town got on the board when An­drew Sev- er­son scored the first of his two goals on a tip-in at the front of the North­ern goal just past the 5-minute mark of the sec­ond pe­riod. Mid- dle­dorf net­ted his fourth of the game less than three min­utes later and the Pa­tri- ots never looked back.

“We were just try­ing to play the same game we’ve played all year,” said North­ern de­fensem- an Justin Robin­son, who had a goal and an as­sist. “We’ve had great suc­cess all sea­son so we didn’t do any­thing dif­fer­ent. We just played hard, worked the puck in, worked the puck to each other.”

Justin Lantz added a goal and two as­sists, Tyler Mid­dle­dorf added three as­sists and Wesley Cro­foot also added an as­sist.

“I’m re­ally ex­cited that we won,” said North­ern goal­tender Cam­den Mas­ters, who made 14 saves. “It was easy to stay fo­cused be­cause they had a lot more pres­sure. We didn’t want them to have too many break­outs and we wanted to try and trap them in the zone and make them tired.”

Catie Corolla added an as­sist for Leonard­town and Matthew Corolla made 27 saves, in­clud­ing 22 over the fi­nal two pe­ri­ods.

“It was a hard-fought game and we were both go­ing at it for the en­tirety of the whole game,” Bryce Leger said. “We were both work­ing hard and they just hap­pened to get a few more shots on net and pucks in the net than we did. I don’t think they wanted it more than us, they just got more chances than we did.”

“We had a rough start to the sea­son, but as it went on our team started play- ing bet­ter to­gether,” said Sev­er­son, a fresh­man. “We were sup­posed to be the worst team in the league, but we formed a good bond and we had great team­work.” SMR I starts play­offs

In the Mid-At­lantic Prep Hockey League, St. Mary’s Ryken I con­cluded its reg­u­lar sea­son with a 9-2 loss to Ge­orge­town Prep of Mont­gomery County on Feb. 7.

The Knights (10-10-1, 7-5-1 AA Divi­sion) re­ceived a goal each from Josh Steven­son and Ja­cob Pilk­er­ton. Colin Lom­bardi and Bryce Travers com­bined to make 22 saves.

The sev­enth-seeded Knights will open the MAPHL play­offs at 4:10 p.m. Feb. 21 against sec­ond-seeded DeMatha at Lau­rel Re­sor rink.

SMR I opened the in­au­gu­ral WCAC post­sea­son Tues­day against St. John’s of Wash­ing­ton, D.C. The winner ad­vances to the semi­fi­nals at 4 p.m. Wed­nes­day against top-seeded DeMatha at the Lau­rel Ice Gar­dens. The cham­pi­onship game is sched­uled for Thurs­day or Fri­day.

North­ern’s Brian Mid­dle­dorf, left, is all smiles as he car­ries the Ch­e­sa­peake Cup fol­low­ing the Pa­tri­ots’ 6-2 win over Leonard­town on Fri­day night at Cap­i­tal Club­house in Wal­dorf. Mid­dle­dorf scored four goals in the vic­tory.

STAFF PHO­TOS BY MICHAEL REID

Leonard­town’s Bryce Leger is tripped up by North­ern’s Matthew Cross as he en­ters the Pa­tri­ots’ zone dur­ing Fri­day night’s Ch­e­sa­peake Cup fi­nal at Cap­i­tal Club­house in Wal­dorf.

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