Spalding Ice Hockey Surges Past St. John’s, Eyes Title In MIAA

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A pair of third-period goals by senior Peter Costa allowed the Archbishop Spalding ice hockey team to break a scoreless tie with St. John’s College High School on January 22, and subsequent scores by Patrick Mangan and William Eden staved off a late rally and helped the Cavs hold on for a 4-1 win at Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton.

Jacob Paprcka notched 26 saves in goal for the Cavaliers, who broke a five-game winless streak to improve to 9-4-4 overall on the season.

Head coach Rob Tranlin said the Cavs’ defensive mindset paved the way for the team to grind out the win.

View a photo gallery of the Archbishop Spalding ice hockey team.

“Our commitment in the defensive zone and how strong we were there early made the difference over the whole length of the game,” said Tranlin. “You do well in the defensive zone, it gives you a chance to possess the puck in the neutral zone and then that gives you a chance to have fun in the offensive zone. I just kept telling the guys, ‘Stay focused, don’t get frustrated with what we’re doing, and we’re going to get our bounce,’ and we finally did in the third period.”

The Cavs persevered through 30 minutes of scoreless play in which St. John’s killed multiple power plays and received outstanding goalkeeping from Ben Calaman, who made 40 saves.

“Their goaltender stood on his head,” said Trantin of the problems Calaman gave his Cavaliers throughout most of the evening. “He was fantastic. He really kept them in it.”

Costa finally broke through for Spalding less than a minute into the third, corralling the puck behind his own blue line and skating through three St. John’s defensemen before depositing the puck in the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Six minutes later Costa was on the receiving end of a pass from Max Wagner and converted for a 2-0 Cavalier lead.

“I think the mindset was we just kept going,” said Costa of the two-period scoring drought. “We just persisted, kept shooting the puck, kept pressuring and got some goals.”

After a goal by St. John’s Griffin Long, assisted by Danny Overcash, made it 2-1, Mangan scored on power play when the puck fell to him from a faceoff, and Eden iced the game with an empty-netter with seconds remaining to close the 4-1 win.

Spalding received strong play from Jacob Hess, Brandon Knopf, Tristan Duncan, John Bilodeau, Colin Suplee, Bijan Olexo, Kian Olexo, Christopher Urgo, Devin Urgo, Benjamin Pazulski and the entire roster in the win, which was the first for Spalding since mid-December (Spalding had gone 0-2-3 in its previous five games). “We needed that game right there, because we’ve been in a little bit of a slump,” said Trantin.

The Cavaliers compete in both the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference as well as the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League, and the victory was a confidence-builder for a team with championship aspirations.

“The strength of this team is just persistence,” said Costa. “No matter what, we don’t quit, we don’t give up, and usually we’re successful.”

View a photo gallery of the Archbishop Spalding ice hockey team.

 

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