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Northstars strike back against Pats

January 09, 2012|By WILL ROBINSON | Staff Correspondent

HAGERSTOWN — The Washington County Northstars avenged their only loss of the season on their home ice Monday night, coming from behind to beat Thomas Johnson 4-3.

The victory also gives Washington County (7-1-1) a share of first place with Thomas Johnson (7-1-1) in the Monocacy Valley division of the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League.

On Dec. 22, the Northstars held a 2-1 advantage over Thomas Johnson heading into the third period, only to see that lead evaporate and turn into a 3-2 victory for the Patriots.

“We played much better tonight than we did two weeks ago,” said Northstars coach Jamie Blackwood. “We knew that we were in control and that we would get breaks when we needed them.”

Josh Barron drew first blood for Washington County when a backhand flip flew over goalie Devin Shields’ left shoulder with 49 seconds left in the first period.

Thomas Johnson evened the game when Matt Bloom snuck a shot past goalie Jeremy Benda on an assist by Jake Hutchinson. Bloom scored again in the second period right after a Washington County power play didn’t net any goals. Bloom took the puck the length of the ice to put the Patriots up 2-1.

“We kept our heads in the game and got good ice time from all of our players,” said Blackwood.

Despite total shots on goal favoring the Northstars 30-10, they didn’t find their stroke against Shields until the third period.

Barron tied the game at two goals apiece 34 seconds into the third, but Hutchinson found the net past Benda again with 11:08 left in the game on assists by Bloom and Nick Larsen. However, Northstars captain J.R. Lowery five-holed Shields in traffic in front of the net to once again tie the game 3-3.

“Derek Bonds’ first varsity ice time of the season netted him a point. He assisted on Lowery’s goal. He made the most of his opportunity,” Blackwood said.

Shawn Kreps scored the deciding goal with 4:24 left in the game on a wrister from behind the blue line that found its way over the glove of Shields.

“We changed our penalty kill to clog up the middle, forcing them to rush the puck,” said Blackwood, whose team was 2-for-2 on penalty kills in the game. “They got gassed and we forced the puck behind them. We really controlled the offensive end of the ice tonight.”

Blackwood said his players are going to stay aggressive.

“We’re staying the course. We don’t want to wait on (our opponents), we’re going to take the game to them,” he said. “We face a tough team in Urbana next week, they could even be a player or two deeper than TJ. I won’t be here so it’ll be up to two of my assistant coaches. Hopefully we play well for them.” 

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