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Hockey: Prep wins with late flurry in IAC semifinal; Landon wins big

The comeback of all comebacks took place Wednesday afternoon at Gardens Ice House in Laurel when No. 3 Georgetown Prep, seemingly out of chances to solve the masterful performance of ninth-ranked St. Albans goalie Chris Smith (43 saves), scored three times in the final 1:48 to propel the Little Hoyas to a 3-2 victory and a spot in this afternoon's IAC tournament championship game against No. 1 Landon. (4pm, Rockville Ice Arena)

As three minutes wound down to nearly two, Prep coach Sean O'Leary, a former goalie during his playing days, pulled goalie P.J. McNamara. Just over 2 minutes showed on the clock. With 1:48 remaining, Prep junior Justin Butler, widely regarded among the most talented skaters in the D.C. area, ripped a shot that Smith saved. But senior Patrick Hall banged in the rebound to make it 2-1.

Fifteen seconds later, same scenario. Prep's Butler skated in, fired a hard shot on Smith, and Hall knocked in the rebound to tie the score at 2. But the Little Hoyas were not done. Senior Taylor Morgan, who battled all game with nifty moves and shots on Smith (only to be denied each time ) made a between-the-legs pass while he and teammate A.J. Taylor skated up the ice in the final seconds of regulation. Taylor collected it, skated in, and snapped a wrist shot to the far right section of the net with 1 second remaining.

Said Taylor, a sophomore, "I was coming down and when I looked up at the clock there were 10 seconds left, and I was yelling Taylor! Taylor! Taylor! He put the puck between his legs, I took the puck saw an opening and nailed it. I've never been so happy in my life,"

St. Albans came out the aggressor in this game, eager to show that their season-long improvement could stand the test of the postseason against one of the D.C. area's most-talented squads. Defenseman Eric Sade, a sophomore, notched a goal off a turnover with just over 5 minutes left in the first period.

In the second period, St. Albans went on the power play when a Prep player was whistled for interference. Ten seconds into the power play, freshman Taylor Dremluk scored to make it 2-0, with an assist from Sean Heaslip

Meantime Smith, who also plays football (kicker) and lacrosse (attack) for St. Albans, showed his athleticism with conventional saves in addition to sprawling ones. Prep had 24 shots through two periods, but none got by Smith. St. Albans had half the shots (12), but twice as many goals.

In the third period, Prep blistered Smith with 22 more shots, giving the Hoyas 46 for the game. Smith came up big each time until Prep's late flurry.

"He [Smith] did a very good job of keeping his team composed with his play in goal," said O'Leary. Added Taylor, who scored the game winner: "All props to him [Smith]. He played incredible"

St.Albans played a stellar game, neutralizing Prep stars Butler, Morgan and Devin Drewyer until the late stages. It was a fact not lost on St. Albans Coach Dan Ryan, who told his players that they could easily be looking at a shot at redemption when the private schools' Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League playoffs begin next week.

"I told them that now's the time to hang together, stay together. They could very well be in this rink at this time next week celebrating a semifinal victory and on to the championship game."

Landon Advances to Title Game

Landon earned a spot in today's IAC title game with a 9-1 win over Bullis. Senior Will Korengold and junior Teddy Wellington scored two goals apiece for the No. 1 ranked Bears, who won the regular season IAC title and will take the outright title with a victory today over Prep. If Prep wins, the teams wil share the title. Sam Anas had a goal and an assist for Landon, while sophomore Matt Pottolichio added three assists. Landon beat Prep, 4-1 in December and tied the Little Hoyas 6-6 in January.

By Dave Yanovitz  |  February 18, 2010; 4:00 AM ET
Categories:  Bullis , Georgetown Prep , Landon , St. Albans , hockey  
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