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Hockey: Northstars clinch division title

February 06, 2012|By WILL ROBINSON | Staff Correspondent

HAGERSTOWN — In the final regular-season game for seniors Bradley Alvarez, Savon Ambush, Matt Stemper, Keith Koontz and J.R. Lowery, the Washington County Northstars clinched the Monocacy Valley division title with an 8-3 defeat of Middletown, punching their ticket to the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League playoffs.

Koontz celebrated his Senior Night with a hat trick and sophomore Travis Biggs netted four goals for the Northstars (13-2-1).

Middletown (3-11) scored first in the first period on a goal by Derek Gaskins, assisted by Denzil Cotera, but that only seemed to draw the ire of Washington County.

The Northstars retaliated by scoring three goals in a span of 36 seconds (two by Koontz, one by Biggs) for a quick 3-1 lead. Biggs scored his second goal with 9:27 left in the second period and Josh Barron followed him 36 seconds later to stretch Washington County’s lead to 5-1.

“Biggs has great vision and puck movement. When he and Barron get in, they’re able to cycle the puck at will,” said Washington County coach Jamie Blackwood. “It’s a great cycle with those two, and they’re both only sophomores.”

Koontz earned his hat trick with 3:24 left in the second period.

“It feels good to accomplish the hat trick on Senior Night, but more importantly, it feels good to win at home,” said Koontz. “If everyone stays healthy and keeps this tempo up, I think we can keep the scoring up and make a good run in the playoffs.”

Denzil Cotera and Florian Cotera both scored short-handed goals for the Knights in the third period to cut the deficit to 6-3, but Biggs scored twice more to put the game away.

“It feels pretty good to score those four goals, and the fact that we’re going to the playoffs is great,” Biggs said. “We’re going to go pretty hard. We’re going to start early and score quick. I think we’re going to do pretty well in the playoffs by how we’ve been playing.”

Alvarez, Stemper, Koontz, Drew Brooks and Sean Kreps each had an assist for Washington County.

The Northstars are going into the playoffs looking to repeat their state title from last year, but Blackwood has stressed that it is one game at a time.

“The chemistry is there now. We’re jelling at the right time and we’re heading into the playoffs with a head of steam,” Blackwood said. “Hopefully we’ll have Gage Clifford with us (out with illness). But if not, other guys will have to step up. Everyone knows their roles and is happy with their roles. We’re going into the playoffs with no distractions.”

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