By Lans Christensen and Riley Klein
KENT — A three-game series between South Kent School and Team Maryland 18U hockey made for a weekend of intense competition on the ice from Jan. 12-14.
Team Maryland is a club member of the Tier 1 Hockey Federation. South Kent faced Team Maryland twice already this season. Maryland won 7-4 when they met at the USHL Fall Classic on Sept. 23. They beat the Cardinals again 4-1 on Dec. 9 in the Overspeed Tournament at Brown University.
The Cardinals were determined to change the narrative with three games on home ice in Stockdale Arena.
On Jan. 12, South Kent showed they meant business. The Cardinals went on a tear and cruised to a decisive 12-3 victory.
Maryland realized this trip to Kent would be far from a cake walk and stepped up their game Jan. 13.
From the first puck-drop, each side duked it out on the ice. Both teams worked their offense and defense to the limit.
Seven minutes into the first period, Kamil Rohal scored South Kent’s first goal. Not long after, Maryland’s Harrison Smith evened the score, and later added a second goal to help Maryland take the lead.
A goal from each side in the second period kept South Kent behind by one point.
Early in the third period, South Kent capitalized on a double power play. A 5-to-3-man advantage gave the Cardinals the opportunity to even the score and the final period began with a 3-3 tie.
As the clock ran down, the hits got harder and scoring opportunities were few and far between. It looked like the even matchup would end with a tie.
Just then, the most incredible, unimaginable, and unexpected climax came with one—yes, one—second remaining.
A melee in front of Maryland’s goal broke out and South Kent’s forward, Daniil Dyachkov, managed to get the puck in the net.
South Kent prevailed in a buzzer-beater win over Team Maryland with a final score of 4-3.
After back-to-back wins for South Kent, the season tally between the two teams was square at 2-2.
The deciding showdown was played Jan. 14.
The final game was even 1-1 after the first period, but South Kent pulled ahead with two quick goals early in the second. Another goal late in the second gave the Cardinals a 4-1 lead heading into the third.
South Kent closed out the series with a final goal in the third to bring the score to 5-1, sending Team Maryland home from Kent without a win.
South Kent advanced 23-18-1 for the season. Regular season play will continue through late February, when the Cardinals will conclude their year at the Prep Hockey Conference Playoff Tournament in Aurora, Ontario.
Story courtesy of the Lakeville Journal.