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North Stars rise to occasion to make shortages go a long way

January 08, 2008|By CHRIS CARTER / Staff Correspondent

Even when shorthanded, the Washington County North Stars can be a handful.

The North Stars were a man down when Paul Stavrakas scored in the first period and they scored six other times - four in the third period - to post a 7-3 win over Tuscarora in Maryland Scholastic Hockey League action Monday night at the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex.

The North Stars (5-0-2, 3-0-2) were leading 1-0 when Drew Lowery was called for interference and was sent to the penalty box for two minutes. Twenty-seven seconds later, Stavrakas broke away with a pair of teammates and slipped the puck past Tuscarora goalie Justin Vitek.

"That was really unique. Very seldom do you see a goal scored when short handed," said Washington County coach Jamie Blackwood. "Usually it takes a lucky bounce or something."

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Stavrakas finished with two goals and two assists. He scored and assisted goals in a one-minute span in the final period. The North Stars scored three in the short stretch.

"We stayed on the offensive the whole game," Stavrakas said. "It's not like football where a team gets up and then goes into prevent mode. We kept at it."

Washington County broke out of the gates and scored in the first 34 seconds of the game. Kevin McCormack and Eric Bowers assisted the goal by Joe Blackwood, and Stavrakas' unassisted score gave the North Stars a 2-0 lead with 11:54 left in the first period.

Tuscarora's Andrew Butler tallied the first of his two goals when he scored with 1:18 left in the opening period to cut the gap to 2-1.

Washington County answered when Lowery scored on an assist from Jack Barr with 7:08 left in the second period.

The North Stars outshot Tuscarora, 35-14.

"We hope we can win with that, but sometimes it just doesn't happen," Jamie Blackwood said. "There was a game last week when we outshot a team 48-17 and ended with a tie. That's how it goes sometimes."

Tuscarora cut the score to one twice more before the North Stars closed strong. Bowers scored on an assist from Stavrakas to make it 4-2 with 8:28 left and Dakota Durning, Stavrakas and Alex Sweeney scored unanswered goals in the final minutes to make it a rout. Bowers and McCormack assisted the Durning goal and Stavrakas assisted the score by Sweeney.

Goalie Alex Bender came up with a pair of saves in one-on-one situations with Tuscarora's John Rempe in the third period. Bender relieved starting goalie John Weber midway through the first period and finished with 10 saves.

"The big thing tonight was the play of our sophomore goalie," Jamie Blackwood said. "That, and the play of our freshman line was good."

Justin Specht scored the only other goal and assisted the final score for Tuscarora.

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