Easton 5 — SSPP 3
EASTON — The Delmarva Cup belongs to Easton.
Shaking off a quick goal by the Sabres, Easton High’s ice hockey team scored the next four goals Wednesday afternoon at the Talbot County Community Center to claim possession of the Delmarva Cup until next year.
In their first game of the season, five Warriors scored in a 5-3 victory — Marco Verteramo, Ralph Verteramo, Mark Radziewicz, Tucker Hussnatter, and Brady Barnes.
Taking advantage of a defensive lapse, Hussnatter collected a loose puck in front of the crease and clanked his first attempt off the right post, but he smacked in the rebound to put Easton up 4-1, 31 seconds into the third period.
The Sabres closed within 4-3 with two straight goals, but an empty-netter by Barnes, off a feed from Pete Green, with 1:22 remaining sealed the victory.
“Every time we play Saints Peter and Paul it’s a tough game,” Warriors head coach Tucker Roney said. “That team over there, they’re very resilient. They’ve got good coaches … and they get the best out of their kids and it showed tonight.”
SSPP (1-2-1) was playing its second game in two days after a 2-2 tie against Kent Island on Tuesday.
Hunter Hoffman tallied off an assist from Brennan Anders just 23 seconds into the game to give the Sabres an early lift. But they didn’t score again until 8:10 remaining in the game.
Seven two-minute penalties hampered SSPP’s ability to create offense. Easton was whistled for four two-minute penalties.
“We played last night and it definitely looked like we played last night. There’s wasn’t a whole lot of intensity and energy today,” Sabres head coach Will Weisman said. “We came out and scored early, which was great, and then we couldn’t score again until late in the third and it was too late.
“It’s been the same problem for us this year though, we’ve been in the box way too often,” Weisman added. “Every game we’ve had way too many penalties. This is only our first loss fortunately with all the penalties we’ve had.”
The Warriors split goaltending duties between Jackson Short, who started, and Alexander Taliaferro, who entered with 7:50 left in the second period. “Both of them played really well. I was happy with both of them ... and I’ll tell you what, their Jack McPeake, he played really well. He’s really good,” Roney said.
McPeake, who tended the goal for SSPP, turned away 19 shots on goal.
Marco Verteramo scored at 11:34 of the opening period, which ended in a 1-1 tie. He and Andrew Elin assisted on Ralph Verteramo’s goal with 12:14 left in the second period to put Easton in front to stay. With 8:56 left in the second, Trice Weems sped up left wing and centered the puck where Mark Radziewicz flipped it into the net to make it 3-1.
After Hussnater made it 4-1 to open the third period, SSPP’s Matt Weatherbee wristed in a goal from the right wing with 8:10 remaining. Hoffman broke free and tallied high at 5:29 to make it 4-3.
Easton countered with offensive pressure, but McPeake and the Sabres’ defense didn’t budge, keeping it close until the empty-netter.
“Eventually it comes down to the point where it’s a little bit of desperation and you realize you can do it,” Weisman said. “We put one away and got a little bit of momentum. It just would have been nice if that second goal came a little earlier.”
With 2:12 to play, Weisman called timeout to set up an attack, but Easton’s defense held SSPP without a shot on goal before Barnes directed in his empty-netter to end the scoring.
Roney said he likes what he’s seeing so far from his young team.
“We’re very young. We have four seniors, I think four juniors, and the rest are sophomores and freshmen,” Roney said. “We had a pretty talented pool of freshmen coming in this year, especially with getting two goalies and three to four quality skaters. It’s going to make a difference this year. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The Warriors host Severna Park on Friday at 4 p.m. The Sabres open their conference schedule with a visit to Ice World in Abingdon to face Archbishop Curley at 4:10 p.m. on Friday.