DeMatha tops Mt. St. Joe in private-schools semifinal

Stags have beaten Gaels in playoffs 2 years in row

Ice hockey

High Schools

February 26, 2005|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Even with all the success the Mount St. Joseph hockey team has had, the season always seems to come down to a playoff game with DeMatha. Last night was no different for the Gaels, and the result wasn't, either.

DeMatha's Scott Gray scored the game-winner just 23 seconds into overtime to give the Stags a 5-4 victory in the semifinals of the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League Private Schools Championship at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel. DeMatha will face Gonzaga, a 1-0 winner over Bullis, in Monday's MSHL championship at 7:30.

Brady Earle had two goals in the loss for the Gaels.

The loss marks the second straight year that DeMatha (18-8-3) has eliminated the Gaels in the semifinals. Since the inception of the league in 1988, either DeMatha (nine titles) or Mount St. Joseph (five titles) has won the championship in all but two seasons.

"I got a perfect pass off the boards from Bill Berman," said Gray of the winning goal. "I skated on net, and held up a little bit waiting for my defenseman to set a screen. I saw [Gaels goalie Tom Bowles] go down, and I lifted it over his right shoulder."

The Gaels (18-1-2) entered the third period leading 2-1, but the Stags scored three of the next four goals to take a 4-3 lead with 10:02 left in the period.

The Gaels responded with 8:33 left, when Earle found the puck in a crowd and beat DeMatha goalie Ned Dixon low to tie the game at 4. The Gaels had a chance to win the game when DeMatha's Joey DeMeria was penalized for elbowing with 3:13 left in the third period, but could only manage three well-defended shots on Dixon.

"This is really frustrating," said Earle, a sophomore. "To have a great [individual] game and lose, it's really disappointing. I feel bad for our seniors."

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