River Hill played against Mount Hebron yesterday like a team that needed a victory in the worst way. That's because it did.
The Hawks, last winter's Howard Conference champions, had opened their Maryland Scholastic Hockey League schedule by tying Wilde Lake and losing to Atholton. A second loss this early in the season would hurt their playoff chances.
"River Hill was hungry," said Mount Hebron coach Dan Kravitz. "They had something to prove."
And the Hawks did just that, scoring the game's first five goals -- three by senior Duncan Brooks -- en route to a 5-3 victory at the The Gardens Ice House in Laurel.
bTC "We came to play," said Brooks, who scored a power-play goal 4: 35 into the first period. "The last time [in a 4-1 loss to Atholton] we weren't ready to play."
Said River Hill goalie Joel Ord, who had a number of nice saves: "If we had played like that against Atholton, we might have won."
Mount Hebron (1-1) made the final result close by scoring three unanswered goals in the third period, which was reduced from the normal 15 minutes to eight minutes because of ice time. But it was too little, too late.
"We dug ourselves a big hole," Kravitz said, referring to the three-goal deficit after the opening period.
River Hill accomplished a couple of things yesterday against Mount Hebron that it failed to do against Atholton.
"Against Atholton, we were letting their men around our goaltender, and this game we didn't," said River Hill assistant coach Darin Segal, who was filling in for coach Mike Hendrix. "We moved them out of our crease area."
Ord agreed. "The shot protection was better," said the sophomore goalie. "We played a better game in our end."
Offensively, the Hawks took shots. Lots of shots. Mount Hebron goalie Brandon Connolly made 28 saves.
"We went to the net well," said Brooks, whose team scored three times off rebounds. "We moved the puck a little better and took a lot more shots."
Andy Metzger scored with 4: 09 left to give River Hill a 2-0 lead. Mount Hebron's Brian Pearson and Brad Preisinger each had breakaway opportunities in the next few minutes, but Ord came up big. Then, with 55 seconds left, Brooks scored again.
"If one or both of those [shots] goes in, it's a different game," said Kravitz, who said his team was hurt by four first-period penalties.
"I'm a little disappointed but glad with the way the kids came back," said Kravitz, whose team got third-period goals from Preisinger, Brent Roberts and Stephen McNutt.
Ord said the victory will be "a confidence builder" for the Hawks. "This will be something for us to measure up to in future games," he said.
Said Segal: "As long as we play smart hockey and give 100 percent on the ice, it will be hard to stop us."
Glenelg and Frederick played a 12-12 tie Wednesday in Frederick. "I hope we saved some goals for the rest of the season," said Glenelg coach Dave Lawson.
Craig Wowkanyn and Ryan Cullison each had four goals for the Gladiators.
Howard Conference standings: Howard 4-0, Atholton 2-1, River Hill 1-1-1, Mount Hebron 1-1, Centennial 1-2, Oakland Mills 1-2, Wilde Lake 0-1-1, Glenelg 0-4-1.
Pub Date: 12/18/98