Hockey

St. Paul's Michael James, center is sandwiched by two Loyola Blakefield players during the Crusaders' 5-1 victory Friday. (Staff photo by Jen Rynda / November 30, 2012)

St. Paul's coach Sam Kaplan says his team just needed "positives" after the Crusaders got off to a slow start.

St. Paul's had been roughed up by Calvert Hall and Glenelg Country School while tying Saints Peter and Paul to start the season.

Kaplan got the "positives" in the 5-1 victory over Loyola Blakefield Friday in a non-league game at Patterson Park's Mimi Dipietro Family Skating Center.

"In both the games against Glenelg and Saints Peter and Paul, we jumped out to 2-0 leads, but couldn't hold on," Kaplan said. "It's good to play well and have those good periods, but to put a win together this early in the year was pretty important."  

Kaplan had to be especially happy that the victory came over a Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference opponent. St. Paul's competes in the B Conference.

The Dons (4-2-1) showed their muscle by outshooting St. Paul's, 34-15, but junior goalie Whit Schweizer was the hero for the Crusaders. He finished with 33 saves and stopped Eric Snyder and Kyle O'Malley on breakaways when the contest was still close.

"He played an exceptional game," Loyola coach Mike Lortie said. "He was absolutely the difference in the game."

St. Paul's also received a standout performance from senior forward Griff Stulman, who totaled two goals and an assist.

The Crusaders jumped out to a 2-0 lead in their third straight game as Stulman Mitchell Haigley scored in the first five minutes.

Loyola cut the advantage to 2-1 with 8:42 remaining in the first period. Schweizer stopped John McGrath's shot from the point, but James O'Malley knocked in the rebound from right in front.

Stulman gave his team a two-goal cushion early in the second period, outskating one defender and deking another before beating goalie Robert Weigman.

Casey Dubois and Ryan Heacox added third-period goals.