Washington County Northstars repeat as state champs

February 27, 2012|By DANIEL KAUFFMAN |
  • Members of the Washington County Northstars celebrate their second straight Class 1A state title after beating Queen Anne's 8-1 on Monday.
Photo by Daniel Kauffman

LAUREL, Md. — The Washington County Northstars rolled to their second straight Maryland Scholastic Hockey League Capitals Cup Class 1A state title in dominating fashion Monday evening.

Showing superior teamwork, passing, skating and stickwork, the Northstars dominated Queen Anne’s County 8-1 at The Gardens Ice House.

“They were very focused,” Northstars coach Jamie Blackwood said. “Winning, and winning in the way they did, I don’t think anything less would have sat well with this team.”

Josh Barron, Keith Koontz and Travis Biggs led the way with two goals each for the Northstars (18-2-1), who have been on a mission since they were snubbed in the Monocacy Valley Hockey League awards, with no one making the first team.

“That really drove us and put a chip on our shoulder,” said defenseman J.R. Lowery, the Northstars’ captain who had a goal and an assist. He also helped shut down Queen Anne’s top two players — Kade MacGregor and Timothy Deane, who combined for 12 goals in two previous playoff games but managed just one Monday.

"Our kids took (the snubs) personally, and ever since then they’ve had a chip on their shoulder, which I don’t mind at all,” Blackwood said.

Drew Brooks got the rout started two minutes in for the Northstars (18-2-1), taking a pass from Sean Kreps and blowing up the right seam past two defenders before scoring past Lions goalie Payne Yoder for the lead.

About three minutes later, Arizona Zervas had a slap shot stopped by Yoder’s left pad, but Josh Barron tapped in the rebound at the post to make it 2-0.

Two minutes later, defenseman J.R. Lowery pinched in from the blue line, got a loose puck and scored for a 3-0 lead. Matthew Stemper got an assist.

Washington County outshot Queen Anne’s 20-3 in the first period and 55-10 overall.

The Northstars doubled their lead in the second period with three shorthanded goals. Keith Koontz scored the first two and Travis Biggs added the other, with Kreps getting an assist on Koontz’s first score.

“Nobody’s been able to beat our diamond trap (on the penalty kill), and then we can use our speed,” Blackwood said.

Koontz’s second score was a thing of beauty, as he stickhandled past three Lions before beating Yoder top-shelf.

“I didn’t know what to expect. We’d never played this team before,” Koontz said. “We’re deep. We stuck to our game plan and did what we had to.”

Barron and Biggs capped the scoring in the third period for the Northstars.

Jeremy Benda lost his shutout bid when MacGregor skated in and scored with 6:55 left for Queen Anne’s (10-5), but he still became only the third freshman goalie to ever win an MSHL state title.

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