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Landon remains unbeaten to win MAPHL title

By Alan Goldenbach
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 26, 2011; 12:49 AM

Sam Anas lost the opening faceoff of the Mid-Atlantic Prep Hockey League championship game, but the Landon senior fixed that pretty quickly.

He poke-checked the DeMatha defenseman who had the puck, gained control, took two steps over the blue line and fired a slap shot past the Stags' goaltender just eight seconds into the contest.

"It was the perfect way to begin," Anas said, "but it's been a perfect season, so why not?"

Top-ranked Landon went on to score four times in the first 71/2 minutes and overwhelmed No. 2 DeMatha, 8-2, for its first MAPHL title before a packed crowd at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel.

Aside from a tie with Spalding and a narrow semifinal victory over St. Albans, no area team has come close to Landon (21-0-1). This was a fitting finish to what Bears Coach Chan Gammill called "a dream season."

"You couldn't ask for anything better than what this team did," Gammill said.

Opponents cited Landon's speed as its biggest strength, and the Bears showcased that throughout. They moved the puck so quickly through the neutral zone, and sprung their forwards for great opportunities throughout.

Exactly one minute after Anas's goal, Landon freshman Joe Snivley got a head of steam into the DeMatha zone, and dropped a pass for junior Matt Potolicchio who flicked in a wrister high for a 2-0 Landon lead.

Potolicchio scored the second of his three goals just over four minutes later, when he gained possession about 10 feet to left of the net behind the goal line, and banked in a shot off the DeMatha goalie's right leg to make it 3-0.

Sophomore David Lackner made it 4-0 at the 7-minute 30-second mark of the first period, when Anas fed Max Greenwald, who dropped a pass in the right circle that Lackner poked in.

"They're tough to keep up with," DeMatha Coach Tony MacAulay said. "They're real good puck movers."

While that start would probably make most teams relax, Landon didn't. After taking a 3-0 lead early against St. Albans in the semifinals, the Bears let the game get tied before pulling out a 5-4 victory Thursday.

"We couldn't let up," said Anas, who had two goals and two assists. "We learned that lesson against St. Albans: keep the pedal to the metal."

Junior Matt Upsahl scored on a nice backhander coming out of the left corner less than five minutes into the second period to make it 5-0.

Meantime, junior goaltender Alex Joyce was outstanding for Landon, particularly on a DeMatha power play to open the second period, when he made four saves, including two from point-blank range. Even when DeMatha could beat him - like when the Stags had a 2-on-1 break shorthanded midway through the second - the Stags hit the crossbar.

DeMatha (33-12-1) got on the board with 10 seconds left in the second, on a goal by senior Christian Elsborg, and figured to carry the momentum into the third. Anas, however, zapped that good feeling, when his wrist shot just over a minute into the period made it 6-1, and it was just a matter of the Bears running out the clock on their dream season.

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