Biddle’s 44 stops huge as Sabres beat Greyhounds
EASTON — Shots on goal were plentiful and about equal during Friday afternoon’s Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference matchup between Saints Peter and Paul and Gilman on the ice at the Talbot Community Center.
Shots in the goal went the way of Saints Peter and Paul — by a large margin.
Cole Lacaze and Sam Weisman each scored a pair of goals, and goaltender Nathan Biddle stopped 44 shots to lead the Sabres’ hockey team to a 6-2 victory over the Greyhounds.
“It’s probably one of the better all-around games that we played,” Sabres head coach Greg Beane said. “We didn’t have a lot of penalties. We had lots of shots and a lot of team passing and team play. Our seniors are stepping up and we’ve got some younger guys, some freshmen that are really starting to get some confidence and playing better.”
Biddle kept SSPP in front in the first period as the Greyhounds raced out of the gate with a flurry of first-period shots. The Sabres withstood the pressure and a goal by Charlie Greaney with 8 minutes, 41 seconds left in the period put them in front the rest of the game.
A break by SSPP’s Noah Kullman was cut off by Gilman’s defense, but Greaney poked the puck free and broke in for a one-on-one goal past Greyhounds goalie Liam Muhly.
“I thought we played great,” Greaney said. “Strong effort, we cleared the puck really well. We did a good job at forechecking, dumping it, and then a great job at scoring like the scoreboard showed. Our goalie played great. Nate played on his head. He really helped us in the back and then senior defenseman Noah [Baranosky], he played lights out.”
Greaney was recognized before the game along with the rest of the Sabres seniors for their contribution to the program. It was their final official home game of the regular season although they play host Queen Anne’s at TCC on Wednesday. As the rankings stand now, the Sabres would host an opening-round playoff game at TCC.
The Sabres improved to 5-4 and are currently the second seed in the upcoming MIAA B Conference postseason playoffs. Front-runner Loyola Blakefield is unbeaten with a pair of wins over the Sabres.
Biddle stopped shot after shot against Gilman, including a sprawling stop to thwart a breakaway by Bear Vandiver in the third period.
“They definitely tilted the ice in their favor a little bit with their speed,” Beane said. “They’ve got a couple real fast guys. But once we started to figure it out and of course Nate Biddle kept us in the game there the first few minutes with a couple key saves. He’s been playing unbelievable and he’s only a second-year goalie.”
Kullman slammed in a shot from the right wing, high to the left side of the net, to put SSPP ahead 2-0 with 6:46 left in the first period.
The Greyhounds finally got the puck past Biddle with 12:51 left in the second period to close within 2-1. Vandiver scored after a faceoff at the right circle, beating Biddle high to the left side of the goal. But the Sabres countered just 31 second later. Lacaze wristed a shot from the right faceoff circle that deflected off Muhly into the net for a 3-1 lead.
That lead grew to 5-1 with consecutive scores by Weisman in the third period. He slid the puck into the net on a breakaway, deking Muhly right and moving left for a clear shot to make it 4-1 with 13:23 remaining. With 7:01 to play, he scored off a rebound of his own shot on a rush from left wing to make it 5-1.
Gilman scored its second and final goal when Sam King knocked in a rebound off a save by Biddle with 4:17 remaining. Less than a minute later, Lacaze scored shorthanded on a breakaway to end the scoring.
Muhley finished with 38 saves for the Greyhounds, who outshot SSPP 49-44.
The Sabres were whistled for three 2-minute penalties and the Greyhounds had one. Neither team scored on the power play.
Sts. Peter and Paul High’s Cole Lacaze, right, controls the puck under pressure from Gilman’s Matt Rodgville during the second period last Friday afternoon at the Talbot Community Center.