Freshman Charlie Daniel scored three goals to lead the St. Paul's hockey team to a 4-1 victory over Boys' Latin yesterday at Northwest Ice Rink, advancing the Crusaders to the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference championship game.
The Crusaders, who lost twice to Boys' Latin in the regular season, will play Severn -- another team that defeated them twice -- at 5 p.m. Friday at Piney Orchard Ice Rink for the title. "This is the best game we've played all year," said St. Paul's coach Doug Knight. "I knew we were capable of beating them, and we put it all together today."
Knight said his team, which has never won the B Conference title, is peaking at the right time.
"We lost to Severn twice, once close [4-3] and once not so close [7-1]," Knight said. "You never know what can happen."
In yesterday's MIAA A Conference semifinals, Scott Falatach banked a shot in off the goalie's pad from behind the goal with less than a minute left to give St. Mary's an 8-7 victory over Archbishop Spalding. Jamie Fritsch led St. Mary's with three goals.
The Saints advanced to the A Conference final against Mount St. Joseph at 7 p.m. Friday at Piney Orchard. The Gaels defeated St. Mary's twice during the season by 10-0.
"We were a little thin both times we played [Mount St. Joseph]," said St. Mary's coach Tom Judge. "We'll see what we can do against them this time. They have a great team."
In the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League, Mount St. Joseph (17-0), which yesterday defeated Georgetown Prep, 6-1, has clinched a playoff spot and will most likely be the highest seed in Tier I.
Eight Tier I teams from across the state, chosen by the MSHL officers, will be seeded and compete for the Capitals Cup. The MIAA A Conference champion receives one of four automatic bids, while four other teams will get at-large bids.
Spalding and St. Mary's both have excellent chances to advance. After each round, teams will be re-seeded. The Tier I playoffs begin on Feb. 19, with the final at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel at 7 p.m. on Feb. 25.
The picture is clearer in Tier II. River Hill and Centennial will play at 4 p.m. Monday at the Gardens Ice House in a Howard Conference semifinal. The winner will play Atholton at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the same site in the Howard Conference championship game.
Severna Park already has clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Falcons will meet the winner of the Southern-Fallston regular-season finale in the conference championship. The Southern-Fallston game will be played at Benfield at 4:45 p.m. Thursday.
The Eastern Conference final will be held at 3:25 p.m. Monday at the Gardens Ice House.
The winners of the Howard Conference and the Eastern Conference will meet in an MSHL public school semifinal game. That contest will be played at Wells Ice Rink in College Park at 6:15 p.m. Feb. 21.
The winner of that game will advance to the MSHL public schools final against the winner of a game between the Montgomery Conference champion and the Western (Frederick) Conference champion. That game will be at the Gardens Ice House at 4 p.m. Feb. 22.
Mount St. Joseph's Tier II team has advanced to the Tier II MSHL private schools final against Bullis Prep of Montgomery County. That game will be held at the Wheaton Ice Rink in Montgomery County at 4 p.m. Feb. 19.
Finally, the winner of that game will play the Tier II public school champion in the Chesapeake Cup championship. That game will be held at the Gardens Ice House at 4:30 p.m. Feb. 25, just before the Tier I Capitals Cup final.