Marriotts Ridge beat Glenelg, 2-1, on Tuesday at the Laurel Ice House to keep its undefeated season alive and advance to the Maryland Student Hockey League semifinals for the third straight season.
"It was huge. We all battled so hard," said Mustangs senior Jack Watson. "We have the two best goalies in the league and Gavin [Ross] played his butt off. It was awesome."
Watson, who has 29 goals and 53 points on the season, scored the first goal 1 minute, 55 seconds into the game and assisted on what proved to be the game-winning goal by Trent Barrett late on a power play less than five minutes later.
Watson got behind the Gladiators' defense on a breakaway down the left side and put away his shot between the legs of goalie Matthew Nagle.
"First one, I got lucky," he said. "Someone passed it up to me and I got lucky on a breakaway and got a lucky shot off."
Watson, along with David Stephens, had the helpers on the second goal after Glenelg's Kevin Lyons (24 goals, 11 assists) tied the game at 4:00 of the first. Watson had the primary assist and fed Barrett, who was alone in front of the goal.
"That was really all Trent," Watson said. "I was just going to the net and he was there and I just threw it. I didn't really see him that well but he was there and he buried it. It was all him."
Said Marriotts Ridge coach Armando DiFerdinando: "Jack is just one of the smartest players I've had the opportunity in 10 years of coaching at Marriotts Ridge on the ice. I hate to talk about one kid, but he is fun to watch. He understands there are different speeds to the game of hockey."
Neither team could find the net the rest of the way as both defenses stepped up their game. The Gladiators (10-5) couldn't capitalize on any of their four power-play chances, and Ross played another solid game in goal for the Mustangs (15-0). It's the third time this season Marriotts Ridge has beaten Glenelg.
"Glenelg, I can't give them enough praise," DiFerdinando said. "To beat a good team like that three times in a year is damn tough."
Gladiators coach Chip Harrison was happy with how his team played overall. He added that his team has had strong third periods all season, including a three-goal final period in an 8-7 comeback victory over Wootton in the opening round of the playoffs on Feb. 16, but the puck simply didn't bounce their way on Tuesday.
"I thought we put a lot of pressure on them," Harrison said. "We thought they were getting tired at the end. The puck just wouldn't go in the net and their goalie played really well."
Marriotts Ridge, which beat Bethesda-Chevy Chase, 5-4, in the opening round, will Walt Whitman or South River on Thursday.