Easton 7 — Sts. Peter & Paul 3
EASTON — The Delmarva Cup stays with the Warriors for another year.
Brady Barnes and Pete Green each produced hat tricks for Easton High’s ice hockey team Tuesday afternoon as the Warriors rallied for a 7-3 victory over Saints Peter and Paul inside The Ice Warehouse at the Talbot County Community Center.
The Sabres took advantage of their scoring opportunities early and took a 3-2 lead with 9 minutes, 5 seconds remaining in the second period on a goal by Joey Greaney, but Easton closed the game with five unanswered markers.
Easton goalies Mason Taliaferro and Jackson Short combined for 23 saves for the Warriors who improved to 8-0 overall.
Each year, the Delmarva Cup stays in possession of the game’s winner as Easton and Sts. Peter & Paul are crosstown rivals with many players who have grown up playing against, and with, each other in youth leagues.
“A phenomenal experience for both teams,” Warriors head coach Tim Nowak said. “A great quality program over there. Our kids just stuck with the process again. I can’t say enough for our leaders. You’ve got a kid like Brady Barnes that lives hockey and just takes the game over and finds a will no matter what he’s doing out there to just lead his team to victory. Along with Pete Green and Wesley (Morgan) our leaders are just phenomenal.”
Connor Stokes scored a pair of goals for the Sabres (3-4), including a short-handed goal to open the scoring with 10:33 left in the first period.
“They have a lot of good shooters,” said Short, who entered the game midway through the second period. “They have trouble getting into the zone, but once they have an opportunity they really rip it. They were really moving it well. Those Team Maryland players move it really well across the blue line. I just had to move quick across the crease.”
Barnes attacked from the left wing and sent the puck between the pads of Sabres netminder Charlies Roberts to tie the game at 3-3 with 6:10 left in the second period. A little over a minute later, at 4:53, from near the top of the left circle, Green sent a wrister high inside the left post for a 4-3 Easton lead heading into the third period.
“They came out strong and we weren’t expecting that,” Green said, “but we stuck to it and killed off some penalties and we just kept playing as a team and we came out on top. … We know all of them. They’re close friends, so it’s always a fun game to play against them.”
Sts. Peter & Paul stayed within one goal most of the third period and had three power-play opportunities that created opportunities to tie the game. But Easton’s defense didn’t budge again and Green tallied with 4:38 remaining for the first of three late Warrior goals.
“They were blocking the lanes early on,” Nowak said. “We try to teach our guys to just get it through. You’ve got to get pucks on net and get rebounds.”
“We just stuck to our game and just kept persevering,” Easton junior wing Reid Roach said. “We didn’t get down and we just kept going.”
With Easton short-handed, Green scored high inside the far post on a rush from the left wing to put the Warriors up 5-3. Barnes crossed from left to right in front of the crease on a break and tucked the puck inside the right post on a power play to make it 6-3 with 2:43 to play. Green poked the puck into the net with 59 seconds remaining to close the scoring.
Roberts finished with 30 saves for the Sabres as the Warriors amassed 37 shots on goal compared to 24 for SSPP.
Each team was whistled for four two-minute penalties.
Barnes had tallied with 8:42 left in the first period to tie the game at 1-1, with assists from Green and Tucker Hussnatter.
“I think our leaders kind of stepped up,” Barnes said. “We kind of slacked off because the people we’re playing, it’s all our friends, but once we got past that … the first two years we lost if I’m not mistaken, so two years in a row, especially my senior year, I just love it.”
The Sabres went ahead 2-1 just 20 seconds into the second period on an unassisted goal by Stokes. The Warriors tied it 2-2 with 9:25 left in the second when Hussnatter swatted in a backhander off a face-off. Greaney tallied just 20 seconds later, but that capped the Sabres’ scoring.
“Defense, awesome,” Nowak said. “Smart decisions. That’s what we preach. Don’t make any risky plays. Safe play and trust in that process and keep our legs skating. That’s what we’re good at. We’re skaters. We’re a really good skating team and sooner or later we’re going to get those breaks.”
Easton’s Hussnatter, Kai Kelly, and Andi Elin teamed to shut down a two-man advantage for the Sabres for 46 seconds beginning with 6:07 left in the third period.
Easton next hosts Broadneck on Friday at 4 p.m. The Sabres travel to Ice World in Abingdon to take on Archbishop Curley.