Laurel -- Kevin Miller knows a little something about frustration. For two straight years he has watched the archrival DeMatha Stags celebrate a victory - one in a shootout and once in overtime - over his Mount St. Joseph Gaels in the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League playoffs.
Yesterday, it was Miller's turn to celebrate. The senior captain scored a short-handed goal 13 seconds into overtime to give top-seeded Mount St. Joseph a 3-2 victory over DeMatha in the MSHL semifinals at the Gardens Ice House.
The Gaels (13-0-1) advanced to Monday's 7:30 final against defending champion Gonzaga. The Purple Eagles defeated Landon, 8-2, in the other semifinal. That game will also be played at the Garden's Ice House.
The Gaels won the faceoff in overtime and found Miller just outside the zone in the center of the ice. He deked a defenseman about 12 feet in front of the net, and beat Stags goalie Ryan Walsh with a wrist shot just below his blocker for the game-winner.
"I felt like I'd made mistakes all game, so I wanted to make up for that," Miller said. "I just gave it everything I had. I went around the defenseman and I got lucky."
The win is another in the rivalry between the two schools. Since the MSHL was formed for the 1988-89 season, either the Gaels or the Stags (7-5-1) have won the league title 13 of the 16 times.
"We were due," Gaels coach Gary Cremen said. "Usually, somebody gets lucky in the overtime, and we got lucky this time."
The Stags took the lead on Shane Fendlay's breakaway 10:06 into the game, but the Gaels rallied to take a 2-1 lead. They tied the game on an own-goal scored by DeMatha defenseman Shaun Gibbons on a bad clearing attempt 1:10 into the second period, then took the lead on Brady Earle's goal on a tip-in 11:35 into the second period.
DeMatha tied the game on a power-play goal by Fendlay with 9:13 left in the third period. Both teams had chances to break the deadlock, but couldn't score. The Gaels had a power play for 1:24 before defenseman Gary Beier was called for hooking with 1:39 left. The last 21 seconds of the penalty carried into overtime.
"This was a tough game, and everything we got we worked so hard for," Miller said. "[Cremens] to us after the third period that we were two steps ahead of ourselves and to calm down. He said if we did that, the shots would fall."