Calvert Hall's Kevin Huntley hobbled around the school's field yesterday in Towson. He winced with each step and often received hard checks from St. Paul's defenders trying to contain him.
But not even the severe ankle sprain suffered in Tuesday's win over Gilman could prevent The Sun's reigning All-Metro Player of the Year from leading a come-from-behind, 15-13 victory over third-ranked St. Paul's.
He had help, of course. Lots of it. Matt Buschman scored five times, Kevin Buchanan scored twice and assisted on five goals and Phil Blevins scored twice for Calvert Hall. Nick Carr won 24 of 30 faceoffs, and Jeremy Blevins made 14 saves.
But their inspiration was Huntley, whose three goals and three assists helped the defending Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference champion Cardinals (9-3 overall, 5-3 league) keep alive their hopes of reaching the playoffs.
Coach Bryan Kelly marveled at his best player, who often hopped or skipped gingerly to build enough speed to elude defenders. Huntley sparked the No. 7 Cardinals' decisive three-goal run by scooting around a defender for a shot on the doorstep and a 13-12 lead with 8:10 to play.
"I just can't say enough about Kevin's heart," Kelly said. "He gets the [stuffing] beat out of him every game. Kevin's played through a lot of injuries people don't know about. If he took his shirt off, you'd see some of them."
Kelly, whose team entered the week tied with St. Mary's for the last of six MIAA playoff berths, said he has banned his players from speaking to the media "in order to focus" on their playoff chase.
St. Paul's (13-3, 6-2) fell out of a first-place tie with Boys' Latin in the league standings. No. 2 Boys' Latin improved to 7-1 in the A Conference with an 11-7 victory over No. 12 Mount St. Joseph.
The Crusaders were led by Gavin Gill, who had four goals and four assists. Zach Thomas scored three times, Bart Wagner had two goals and an assist, and Emmett Ford scored twice for the Crusaders, who turned an early 4-2 deficit into a 9-5 lead with 3:54 left in the first half.
Calvert Hall scored four unanswered goals to tie the score at 9 with 8:12 left in the third quarter. Buschman scored twice during the run, tying it with a diving shot off a pass from Jeff Reynolds.
Sandwiched between Buschman's scores were goals by Chris Baldwin and Huntley, whose curl-pattern run got him past his defender before he stuffed a point-blank shot past Matt Landsman to make it 9-8.
"It says a lot about [Huntley] that he's hurt right now, and he still had an unbelievable game," said Gill, whose feeds to Thomas and Patrick Sweeney gave the Crusaders leads of 10-9 and 11-9. "His stickwork is unbelievable. He shoots so well, knows the game. He's probably the best player in the country."