PHOTOS/VIDEOS by Derek Toney

Killing back-to-back power plays in the third period may have sucked the life out of Calvert Hall in the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference ice hockey championship game against Mount St. Joseph on Friday evening at Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton.

Because when it came to overtime, it was the Gaels who were living large after senior Nathan Dailey scored the game-winning goal against the defending champions on a backhander with just over three minutes remaining in overtime to secure a 2-1 victory and the title.

“I tried to win the face-off, and I picked up the puck in the slot and just tried to put it on goal,” Dailey said while his teammates and fans celebrated together off the ice.

The game was a defensive struggle throughout, with Gael goalie Connor Churko and his Cardinal counterpart Matthew Schaab making a combined 66 saves in a game that was scoreless for the final 29 minutes of regulation and nearly two minutes in overtime.

“The guys we needed to score didn’t put it in the net,” said Calvert Hall coach Ryan Woodward. “I think those penalty kills might have taken a lot out of us. We couldn’t get the puck out of the zone. I think they just wore us down, and in OT anything — like a missed assignment — can cost you.”

The Cardinals scored first on a quirky goal by junior Coby Smith that took an odd bounce off the boards and found the net with just over six minutes remaining in the opening period.

Mount St. Joseph (7-11-3 overall) answered on a goal by sophomore Nick Komisar early in the middle period to deadlock the score at 1-1, although the Gaels had several opportunities to snap the tie until Komisar was turned away on a breakaway and sophomore Paolo Meany’s wrister was snagged by Schaab late in the period.

On the Gaels’ first power play, junior Rory Nilan was denied and then sophomore Ryan Schmitz was snuffed on another even-strength breakaway.

The aforementioned consecutive penalties against the Cardinals (11-9-1) early in the third period started to take their toll later in the period and in OT when it counted most.

The Gaels’ ability to press the Calvert Hall skaters all over the ice proved to be invaluable.

“We did a great job of forechecking,” said Mount St. Joseph coach Mike Marley. “Our seniors really kept us going.”

Considering that the Gaels lost all three regular-season matches to Calvert Hall, they made amends at the perfect time.

“All three of those games were tightly contested,” Marley said. “The last time we played, we had the lead and let it get away. But we felt we outplayed them a little bit. Hey, the fourth time was a charm for us.”

Woodward knew that the Gaels would not be a pushover, despite the regular-season sweep.

“It’s been like that for the last three years,” he said. “Every game is pretty tight, and we’ve won most of them. But tonight, they got us.”


at Piney Orchard Ice Arena

MSJ  0   1   0  –  1  —  2
CHC  1   0   0  –  0  —  1
Mount St. Joseph – Nick Komisar, Nathan Dailey; Calvert Hall – Coby Smith.
Assists: Mount St. Joseph – Franke Gregorian, Alex Godbold.
Saves: Mount St. Joseph – Connor Churko 30; Calvert Hall – Matthew Schaab 36.