LAUREL – The DeMatha High School hockey team began its bid for an MAPHL title on Tuesday afternoon by downing St. Albans 3-0 in a quarterfinal meeting at the Gardens Ice House. DeMatha (17-9-4) became the first team to earn a berth in the MAPHL semifinals since the remaining quarterfinals were postponed until Wednesday due […]
LAUREL – The DeMatha High School hockey team began its bid for an MAPHL title on Tuesday afternoon by downing St. Albans 3-0 in a quarterfinal meeting at the Gardens Ice House.
DeMatha (17-9-4) became the first team to earn a berth in the MAPHL semifinals since the remaining quarterfinals were postponed until Wednesday due to snow. The subsequent semifinals are rescheduled for Thursday at Fort DuPont (DC) and Rockville. The MAPHL championship game is still slated for Friday evening at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel and most of the Stags’ coaches and seniors have every intention of participating in that outing.
Through the first two periods DeMatha controlled play and eventually owned a 20-9 advantage in shots on goals through the opening 30 minutes, but the Stags dominance on the stat sheet was not reflected on the scoreboard of a scoreless tie. St Albans goalie Evan Roth had robbed DeMatha players Austin Weber, Ryan Sneddon, Ryan Sweeney and Chris Myers of good scoring chances in the first two periods, including thwarting the Stags on their first power play opportunity.
“We always seem to start a little slow, but by the third period we really increase the shots,” said DeMatha coach Tony McAullay. “Their goalie [Roth] really played an outstanding game. He was the star player of the game. We took some good shots in the first two periods, but he made some tough saves. By the third period we were able to finally generate some better scoring chances.”
In actuality, St Albans had the game’s first golden opportunity to break the scoreless deadlock early in the second period when Weber and Keegan Chesnick both attained minor penalties less than a minute apart enabling the Saints to own a two-man advantage for 78 seconds. But during that span St Albans managed only one shot on goal and Stags’ senior keeper Kevin Mackey was there for the save.
With just under three minutes remaining in the second period, DeMatha earned another play opportunity and this time the Stags delivered a bevy of shots at Roth and one of them finally found the net. Chesnick, Sweeney and Myers each had good shots during the power play that Roth snared, but Weber finally broke the scoreless deadlock with a blast from the point that found the upper right corner of the net with 1:04 remaining in the period.
“I just took a good shot and it found the net,” said Weber, who had been denied by Roth on three other good scoring chances. “It helped us finally get on the board. I think Max [Morgan’s] goal in the third period was big. It gave us a little cushion.”
DeMatha remained on the offensive through the third period, eventually taking 13 shots on goal during the final frame. After Morgan, Weber and Sweeney were denied by Roth in the opening five minutes of play, Morgan gave the Stags a 2-0 lead with 8:25 to play he collected a rebound off a shot by Sneddon and wristed it past the St Albans goalie.
DeMatha looked poised to add another goal during a five-minute stretch when McGuire, Myers and Morgan each took quality shots on goal, but Roth rebuffed those bids. Oddly enough, the Stags finally got the third goal during a St Albans power play chance when Nick Keppler delivered an improbable, short-handed, empty net goal with 51.5 seconds left soon after the visitors had pulled their goalie to forge a two-man advantage in a desperate attempt to narrow the Stags’ lead to one goal.