St. Paul's slips past McDonogh in OT, 12-11 Kakel sparks comeback for No. 2 Crusaders

April 13, 1996|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

St. Paul's played sloppily on offense, turning the ball over as many times as it shot on goal. The Crusaders showed no hustle on defense, getting beat several times to allow easy goals.

But St. Paul's put together 2 1/2 minutes of intensity to avoid one of the biggest upsets of the year.

Chris Kakel scored two goals in the final 35 seconds of regulation and Buggs Coombs scored the game-winner 1: 40 into overtime as No. 2 St. Paul's escaped with a 12-11 victory over visiting and No. 15 McDonogh in an MIAA A Conference game. The Crusaders had trailed the entire second half and fell behind by as many as four goals.

"We were mentally not into the game," St. Paul's coach Rick Brocato said. "All the guys stepped up, especially the seniors, to save us."

McDonogh controlled most of the game after scoring seven straight goals to turn a 4-1 deficit into an 8-4 lead. St. Paul's never found its niche offensively, dropping passes on the crease, giving the ball up on a delay call and making poor shooting decisions.

It didn't help that the Crusaders were without the ball for several large gaps of time. Without specialist Chris Berrier (injured leg), St. Paul's lost 19 of 27 faceoffs to McDonogh's Rick Cober.

Kakel was the lone consistent offensive threat for St. Paul's, scoring three goals and assisting on five others. He engineered the comeback by scoring or assisting on six of St. Paul's seven second-half goals.

The Crusaders (6-1) broke a 26-minute scoring drought when Kakel powered in a lunging shot with 3: 02 left in the third quarter to pull within 8-5. After Bob Benson scored a minute into the fourth quarter to give McDonogh a 9-6 lead, St. Paul's received goals from Conor Gill and Tom Halford within a one-minute span to reduce the advantage to one goal.

But the Eagles (8-4) didn't fold, as Ryan Floyd put back a rebound to push the margin back to 10-8 midway through the fourth quarter. Andy Hood then scored off a pass from Benson to stretch McDonogh's lead to 11-8.

McDonogh attempted to control the ball for the remainder of the game, but gave up possession even with two man-up situations in the final five minutes.

Kakel fed Mike Kernan cutting down the middle with 2: 48 left as St. Paul's crept to within 11-9. Kakel then scored two unassisted goals, including beating a double team to tie the game at 11 with 22 seconds left in the game.

"I knew we had them midway through the fourth quarter," Kakel said. "We were just scoring at will against them."

In overtime, Crusaders goalkeeper Rich Yost stopped McDonogh's first shot and made a clearing pass to midfield. The next pass upfield skipped through two McDonogh defenders and into the stick of Coombs.

Coombs scooped up the ground ball behind the defense and easily dumped in the winning score.

Pub Date: 4/13/96

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