Trap game gets Northstars

January 23, 2012|By WILL ROBINSON | Staff Correspondent
  • Washington County Northstars' J.R. Lowery, right, battles Carroll County's Jimmy Martin, left, along the boards during Monday's game.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — Call this a classic trap game.

The Washington County Northstars, judging by records alone, should have won Monday’s game against Carroll County. But it didn’t work out that way as Carroll County prevailed 3-2 at the Hagerstown Ice & Sports Complex.

Washington County (9-2-1) entered the game hoping to take sole possession of first place in the Monocacy Valley division of the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League after Thomas Johnson lost to Oakdale last week.

Carroll County (6-6-1) came in fighting for its playoff lives. The Northstars may have been looking past the Bears.

“We had a lack of back check, a lack of team play, and a lack of leadership,” said Washington County coach Jamie Blackwood. “That happens when you think you’re going to come out and blow out a team.”

Carroll County came out more focused than Washington County. Kyle Hooper drew first blood with a goal with 11:14 left in the first period.

The Northstars trailed at the end of the first period for the first time all season.

“This was a dangerous game, I think. This team was one of those whose record is not indicative of its play,” Blackwood said. “(Carroll County) is a quick team, that’s what they want to do.”

Carroll County played a run-and-gun style of offense, hitting Washington County goalie Jeremy Benda with a barrage of 34 shots on goal in the game.

The Northstars, however, used the power play to their advantage in the second period. Washington County tied the game with 3:26 left in the frame on a goal by Keith Koontz, assisted by Travis Biggs and Sean Kreps. Three minutes later, Josh Barron scored on another power play, assisted by Biggs and Michael DiMercurio, to give Washington County a 2-1 lead heading into the third period.

Carroll County tied the game on a shorthanded goal by K.C. Elliott three minutes into the final period, when Elliott scored between Benda’s legs. Washington County’s J.R. Lowery picked up a two-minute minor penalty with 5:28 left, and Brennen Smith scored the game-winning goal on the Bears’ power play with 4:37 remaining.

Washington County could not solve Carroll County goalie Kevin Davis consistently. He turned away 23 of the Northstars’ 25 shots on goal in only his second game of the season.

“Carroll County has explosive players. They shot well and found their mark. We had a lot of shots but they were right at the goalie,” said Blackwood. “Our bright spot tonight was Benda between the pipes. He deserved the win tonight and we didn’t get it for him.”

Carroll County’s win gives the Bears new life in the playoff chase, perhaps giving them two more dates with the Northstars this season.

“We’ve played them twice already and we’ll see them once more in the regular season, but at this point we may even see them in the playoffs,” Blackwood said. “It’s up to our players how bad they really want it.”

Washington County will play last-place Middletown on Friday.

“I think we’ll be refocused on Friday night. Middletown hits hard, plays aggressive, and they want to get under your skin. I think we’ll be ready for them,” said Blackwood.

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