EASTON — Tied 2-2 in the first period, Tuesday afternoon’s non-conference ice hockey game between Saints Peter and Paul High and Kent Island veered suddenly and decisively the Sabres’ way.
John Albrecht redirected a centering pass from Brooks Hoffman with 5 minutes, 47 seconds remaining in the first period, beginning a string of five straight goals for the Sabres on their way to 15-7 victory inside The Ice Warehouse at the Talbot County Community Center.
After an 11-4 season-opening loss to Queen Anne’s, the Sabres have won three straight games, including two against Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B conference foe Glenelg Country School. In those three games, SSPP scored 35 goals.
Connor Stokes scored four goals and provided five assists to lead the Sabres against Kent Island. Hunter Hoffman scored four goals and Brooks Hoffman (five assists) and Albrecht each pumped in two. Also scoring for SSPP were Joey Greeney, Peter Fritzche, and Caleb Fritzche.
Connor Wackowski and Colby Ratel each tallied twice for Kent Island, which fell to 0-2-1.
The Sabres outshot the Buccaneers 41-13, including 19-8 in the first period.
“Every game this season has been a shootout for us,” Sabres head coach Will Weisman said. “I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into this game. I know Kent Island tied Queen Anne’s 3-3 and Queen Anne’s beat us 11-4. So I thought this would be a good game to see how well we improved. I think Kent Island played a different goalie today against us, so I think that might have had something to do with it.”
SSPP’s Hunter Hoffman wound up and slung in a left-handed wrister from just inside the blue line to put the Sabres ahead 4-2 with 5:13 remaining in the first period. Brooks Hoffman sent in a right-hander from virtually the same spot to put SSPP ahead 5-2 with 2:38 left. Stokes sent the puck into the crease and off Kent Island goalie Noah Christopher into the goal to make it 6-2 with a minute remaining. Greeney capped the string of five unanswered goals two minutes into the second period when he slapped in a rebound off the boards after a shot by Brooks Hoffman from the left wing.
The Sabres continued to pressure Christopher the remainder of the game, highlighted by two goals in six seconds in the second period. Caleb Fritzche tallied with 4:28 left in the second when the puck deflected off a defender and slid slowly into the left side of the net. Stokes collected the puck on the ensuing faceoff, raced down left wing, and scored high left to put the Sabres ahead 11-5 at 4:22.
Albrecht tallied on a power play as the Sabres increased their lead to 13-6 with 10:24 left in the third. Stokes later closed the scoring with a shot from the right wing.
The Sabres were whistled for seven penalties and the Bucs for six. Scorekeeping issues and other delays created the need to take four minutes off the third period to stay within the allotted ice time.
Christopher finished with 29 saves and his counterpart Charlie Roberts stopped 12 shots.
“I’m really proud. In the short season, we’re now 3-1,” Weisman said. “Since that first loss, we’ve won three games. … We have four practices before our next game. We have a lot to work on still. I think you probably noticed today our goalie Charlie Roberts — a really big improvement in a short amount of time. The kid, he’s got a drive and a work ethic that any coach wants in a goalie, especially a first-year starter in the league. He’s really put in a lot of time, watching videos off-ice, doing stretches, getting more flexibility, and it’s definitely making a difference for us.”
Kent Island next travels to the Naval Academy ice rink at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, to take on Annapolis. SSPP travels for a 5:15 p.m. start Friday, Dec. 13, against Gilman at the Mount Pleasant Ice Arena in Baltimore. The Greyhounds topped the Sabres 5-2 in last year’s MIAA B Conference championship game.