DeMatha routs Centennial, 10-0 Stags too strong in MSHL semifinal


Last season, a 6-5 loss to Centennial and a 2-2 tie with Mount St. Joseph kept DeMatha High School of Hyattsville out of the Capital Cup playoffs, denying the Stags a chance for their third straight Maryland Scholastic Hockey League title.

DeMatha paid back defending MSHL champion Centennial (10-1-1) yesterday at Piney Orchard Ice Rink in Crofton, thrashing the unbeaten Central Division champions, 10-0.

The Stags (12-0) received six first-period goals from six different players to begin the semifinal rout.

"We've got 17 kids with a lot of varsity hockey experience and it showed today," DeMatha coach Pat Krimm said. "Usually, if you get a two- or three-goal lead, you can feel the other team start to bend a bit. That was the case here, and that's how we play hockey."

DeMatha senior forward Kevin Sia led the Stags' offensive charge with two goals and five assists and teammate Brian Eppley had a hat trick.

"We knew it would be tough offensively because DeMatha allowed just five goals all season," Centennial coach Kevin McMahon said. "Our goal was to get three scores, one more than Mount St. Joe's got in their loss Friday to DeMatha. We just couldn't get one."

DeMatha will meet the winner of today's 4:30 p.m. semifinal between Northern Division champion Mount St. Joseph (9-1) and Southern Division wild-card Landon (9-1) at Piney Orchard.

Centennial goalie Matt French had the busiest afternoon, as DeMatha's high-powered offense, led by Eppley (34 goals, 17 assists), bombarded the Eagles' net with 66 shots. French never tossed in his glove or stick, however, stopping 53 DeMatha shots, including 15 of 18 in the third period.

"After the first period, I still was confident we could come back and make it look respectable because we have talent," French said. "But after that 10th goal went in to end the second period, that was real disappointing."

French said his defense played well in the neutral zone, but the Eagles had problems clearing the puck down the ice.

"Plus our offense was just shut down. DeMatha's defense is spectacular," French said.

Centennial came into the semifinal averaging eight goals and allowing just under four. However, DeMatha's constant offensive pressure never allowed the Eagles' top scorer, senior Nathan Hunt (29 goals, 17 assists), an opportunity to attack the Stags' net.

Of Centennial's seven shots on goal, the best hope of scoring came with just one minute left in the first period and the Eagles trailing 6-0.

Sophomore right wing James Ord broke free of his defender long enough to strike a hard blast at the net. DeMatha goalie Jeff Thomas, however, deflected the shot and denied Centennial's scoring chance.

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