Cavaliers drop St. Joe for repeat in MIAA A hockey; Donnelly drops hat trick (VIDEO HERE!)

by Donald Daniels

There was no complacency by Archbishop Spalding High hockey Thursday.

Bookended by two outstanding performances, the Cavaliers started strong and didn’t let up in a 5-2 decision over Mount St. Joseph to repeat as MIAA A Conference champions at Piney Orchard in Odenton.

The Anne Arundel County school led wire-to-wire as senior Evan Donnelly provided a hat trick while junior goalie Collin Berke was brick wall for the Cavaliers with 18 saves. It’s the first back-to-back in A hockey since Spalding did the trick in the 2011-12 and 2012-13 winter seasons.

In claiming the rubber match with St. Joe, the Severn school now has five A crowns, second by most behind the Gaels’ 12.

“From day one we put the work in, we practiced hard and this means to me and the team,” Berke said. “We are just really happy and excited.”

Spalding (10-9-3 overall) turned a negative into a positive early. After a penalty was assessed to the Cavaliers, Frank Megan was able to get the puck away from the Gaels, skated down the right side and sneaked a shot pass from Patrick Zaleski for a man-down tally.

At the 8-minute and 25 second mark, Donnelly started his impressive night, rifling in power play goal off an assist from Cameron O’Neil. Five minutes later, Donnelly made it 3-0 in the first period.

“He is a leader, he shows up on the score sheet everyday and he is a great captain for this team,” Spalding coach Rob Trantin said of Donnelly.

Berke echoed Donnelly’s impact.

“From his freshman year, he plays his heart out and we are so glad to have him,” Berke said.

The Gaels (8-9-4) got on the board late in the first when Nolan Burns converted off a ricochet with about 10 seconds left. Berke maintained Spalding’s advantage, poking the puck away from St. Joe’s Ryan Schmitz on a breakaway.

“I love that kid,” Donnelly said of Berke’s performance.

“He is the best goalie in the league,” Trantin said. “We are very lucky to have him, he gets a lot of activity and stand on his head and he will just stop breakaway chances, he is the best.”

Sophomore Micheal Urgo got Spalding’s lead back to three on another power play goal off a Megan assist on the lone goal of the second period. Michael Garvin brought the Gaels within 4-2 with three minutes left in regulation.

Moments later, Donnelly sealed the hat trick and another title for the Cavaliers.

“When we came in as freshmen, it was a wide world to us and didn’t know what was going to happen,” said Donnelly, “so to win this championship, it just so sweet.”

MIAA A Conference hockey championship

at Piney Orchard

Archbishop Spalding 5, Mount St. Joseph 2

Goals: Mount St. Joseph – Garvin, Burns; Spalding – Donnelly 3, Megan, Urgo

Assists: Mount St. Joseph – Adams, Cremen, Meany; Spalding – O’Neil 2, Megan 2, Tiger, Mangan;

Saves: Mount St. Joseph – Zaleski 14; Spalding – Berke 18;

Mount St. Joseph 1 0 1 – 2

Spalding 3 1 1 – 5