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Bowers scores 6 goals in Northstars' 6-3 win over Linganore

Bowers scores 6 goals in Northstars' 6-3 win over Linganore

January 06, 2009|By DAN KAUFFMAN

It took Eric Bowers 19 minutes, 25 seconds to finish off a hat trick for the Washington County Northstars on Tuesday evening.

For an encore, Bowers produced another hat trick in the third period. He finished with all six Northstars goals in a 6-3 victory over Linganore in a Maryland Scholastic Hockey League Monocacy Valley Conference game at the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex.

"I got a couple nice passes for a couple nice breaks and finished," Bowers said. "Most of our goals were on fast breaks. They were collapsing in our zone and we had open breaks all game."

"It's just one of those nights. Eric just happened to be on net tonight," Northstars coach Jamie Blackwood said. "We had a lot of nice passes tonight and he was finding the net."

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Bowers had plenty of help as the Northstars (7-1, 6-1 MVC) won a key game against the Lancers (5-2 MVC) in the race for the conference title. Six players had at least one assist -- Joe Blackwood and Andrew Lowery each had two, and Dakota Durning, John Lowery, Mitchell Sirface and Zach Kimmel each added one.

"We took our chances," Jamie Blackwood said. "I gave the kids the green light to try some things, some of them worked and some didn't."

The Northstars took the lead less than three minutes in. After the Lancers' Christopher Evans was called for a hooking penalty, Bowers won a faceoff in Linganore's zone and Durning gave Bowers the puck right back in point-blank range for an easy score.

"We came out strong and wanted to get a goal up on them early," Bowers said. "I think the momentum was on our side most of the game."

Neal Walker evened the score for Linganore on an assist from Travis Tibbs with 5:48 left in the first period.

Each team scored twice in the second period. Bowers made it 2-1 with 13:49 left on a rebound goal off assists from Blackwood and Andrew Lowery.

A little more than a minute later, Linganore's Pierce McCaull smoked a shot through traffic that Alex Benda stopped, but Paul Curley scored on the rebound to tie it at 2.

Two minutes later, Kimmel picked up the puck with momentum in the neutral zone and started a 3-on-1 break that Bowers easily finished for a 3-2 lead.

Two more minutes later, Linganore's Bradley Gratton fired a wrist shot past Benda, with Tibbs and Travis Wagner assisting.

Bowers' three third-period goals proved to be the difference. The game-winner happened 21 seconds into the period, as Durning's long shot hit the post and Bowers poked the loose puck in while battling in the middle of a scrum.

With 8:27 left, Bowers scored on a great feed from Blackwood, who was working behind the net, for a 5-3 edge. In the final minute, Sirface hit Bowers with a long pass that led to a breakaway at an empty net and the final goal.

Benda made several key stops in 1-on-1 situations in the second period and early in the third with the game still in the balance.

"The shots were even. Our goalie was better than theirs," Bowers said. "He was one of the reasons we won. He kept us in it the whole game."

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