Knights skate past Oakdale Bears, 6-3
By Jake Dziubla
Round Table online editor-in-chief
After finishing 1-2 in the Frederick Cup Tournament last weekend, the Knights opened the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League season with a 6-3 win over the Oakdale Bears after overcoming a 3-3 tie in the third period.
After ending a gritty, physical first period that ended with a 0-0 tie, the Knights jumped on the scoreboard shortly into the second period with a breakaway goal by Knights forward, Dylan Contento. Knights centers Shawn Lane and Florian Cotera quickly followed suit with a goal a piece, making the score 3-0 halfway into the second period.
Oakdale, however, jumped on a defensive error at 9:18 in the second to spoil Middletown goalie Nick Bernazani’s shutout, making the score 3-1 heading into the third period. The beginning of the third period was marred by miscommunication by the Knights’ defense and an energized Oakdale squad seeking to change the momentum. Oakdale scored on yet another defensive miscommunication by the Knights and a fluke goal fired from the opposite end of the ice added insult to injury as Middletown watched its lead vanish with the score tied up 3-3.
“They’re a force to be reckoned with,” said Middletown High School captain, Conor Boudart.
The vanishing lead was eerily similar to the Walkersville-Middletown game in the Frederick Cup Tournament in which Walkersville overcame a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Knights 5-3. In the Oakdale game, however, the Knights were determined to use the Walkersville lesson as a way to finish the game with them on top.
“The guys pulled up their boot straps and rolled up their sleeves. They really took it to them,” said head coach, Greg Brannan.
The Knights unloaded on the Bears in the last five minutes of the game. The worn out Bears, being outshot 32-26, gave up two more goals thanks to Florian Cotera and Shawn Lane, giving Middletown a 5-3 lead. The Bears pushed for a last hurrah by pulling their goalie in the last minute of the game, a risky decision that ultimately resulted in a goal by Knights defenseman, Ryan Gilroy. When the horn sounded, Middletown had finished the game on top, 6-3.
“They displayed incredible character,” said Brannan.
Boudart believed that the key to the Knights’ offensive success was passing and the movement of the puck.
“We moved the puck as a team,” said Boudart.
While it may be the first game of the season, Brannan gave his opinion on the quality of his team thus far.
“I think it’s the best team that Middletown has ever had.”
Game notes: The Knights won their opening game for the first time in two years. Florian Cotera and Shawn Lane each had two goals. Dylan Contento and Ryan Gilroy had a goal a piece. The Knights’ next game is Friday, Nov. 8 at 7:20 P.M. versus the Urbana Hawks.