Bid­dle’s 44 stops huge as Sabres beat Grey­hounds

Record Observer - - Sports -

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.

PHOTO BY CHRIS KNAUSS

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.

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