For St. Paul's Adam Johnston, it seemed to take forever for the Crusaders to score on McDonogh's 6-foot, 205-pound Tyler Fiorito.
"We came out shooting high, and he made some great saves," said Johnston, referring to Fiorito's 10 stops during a scoreless first quarter. "So then, we tried shooting from far out, low and away. In the end, finally, there were some unsettled plays."
One of those led to Johnston scoring his game-winning second goal with 4:23 to play off a pass from Cliff Larkin, lifting the visiting, top-ranked Crusaders to their sixth straight win, 3-2, over last year's Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference runners-up.
"Cliff caught the defense off guard on an unsettled play and jammed [the ball] in there," said Johnston, a junior whose Crusaders (11-1, 4-0) ended a 10-game winning streak by McDonogh (11-2, 3-1). "I got a quick stick on it."
Working behind the zone defense of KC Woods, Greg Bernstein and Tyler Goldberg, Fiorito finished with 20 saves in a game that was tied 1-1 at halftime.
There was no scoring until the teams traded goals 19 seconds apart: Johnston converted a pass from D.J. Hessler 62 seconds before the intermission; and McDonogh's Andrew Feinberg buried Pat Sotory's assist.
McDonogh led for the only time, 2-1, after Kyle James flicked in a dish from Brad Zink at 9:18 of the third quarter. But St. Paul's made it 2-all with 8:17 left in the game as Justin Donati fed Chris Clements.
"Only giving up three goals, you should win," said Fiorito, a Princeton-bound junior who made 23 saves in an April 2 win over Gilman. "I'm generally happy with giving up outside shots, which I can handle. But our inside game needs work."
St. Paul's goalie Stu Wheeler (11 saves) also stood tall behind the Windsor brothers, Peter and John, as well as Leks Gerlak and Tyler Boykin.
"Both goalies were huge," said Boykin, a Delaware-bound, 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior who contained Feinberg. "I was focused because [Feinberg's] an awesome player. I was lucky to hold him to a goal."