DeMatha goalie Lenny Barnard stopped 31 Gonzaga shots -- many of them with spectacular saves -- to lead the Stags to a 5-1 victory and their third straight National Capital Hockey Tournament title last night at Fort DuPont Ice Arena in Southeast.
DeMatha, which defeated Gonzaga in last year's final 3-2, jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period, and Barnard took it from there. The senior allowed only two goals in four tournament games.
"We came here prepared and really focused," said Barnard, named the game's most valuable player for the second straight year. "We got on them early and controlled the game after that. The defense was great."
Forwards Colin Hanley (twice), Kevin Early, Gary Burgess, and Tom LaCour scored for DeMatha (19-6). Kevin Spain had the lone goal for Gonzaga (9-4).
The game remained close until midway through the final period, when LaCour scored on a wrist shot from the slot to give DeMatha a comfortable 4-1 lead. Gonzaga continued to apply pressure, but Barnard stymied the Eagles with his glove, blocker or stick every time he was tested the rest of the way.
"He was probably the best goalie in the tournament," DeMatha Coach Anthony MacAulay said. ". . . He was the strongest point of a very good defensive effort from our team."
Beside having an obvious size and speed advantage over Gonzaga, DeMatha also had nearly two more hours of rest between games yesterday. The Stags' semifinal ended around 12:15 p.m.; the Eagles' semifinal did not end until around 2:20. The final began at 6.
In the semifinals, DeMatha rolled to a 6-0 victory over La Salle (Wydnmoor, Pa.) and Gonzaga beat Canisius (Buffalo).
Arundel Grapplers Rebuild
The Arundel wrestling program has undergone many changes since last year. Coach John Miller replaced Buddy Hepfer, who retired after 30 years, and the Wildcats lost eight starters from the Maryland 4A-3A dual-meet region championship team.
But junior Mike Money is back and healthy. The 135-pounder returned from a broken arm that sidelined him for two months last season, won nine of his first 11 matches and finished second in the Arundel Holiday Wrestling Tournament last night in Gambrills.
Baltimore's Archbishop Curley won the event for the fourth straight year with 213 points. South Carroll placed second with 201 points and No. 5 River Hill finished third with 168, edging No. 8 Arundel (164).
Money had only 10 matches last year before breaking his left arm. However, his consistency throughout the first part of this season delighted Miller.
"We expected this from him," Miller said. "He's really wrestled well this season."
Money performed strongly in the tournament, scoring two decisions by a combined score of 22-4 before making the finals. He battled Antwuan Lide throughout, but the Curley wrestler pulled away for a 7-2 decision.
"I feel a lot of pressure," Money said. "I'm usually quiet in practice, and now I've got to be loud. I also want to prove something [because of the injury]."
Matt Harvey (Meade), Brandon Lauer (River Hill), L.J. Curry (Meade) and Karol Gryczynski (Mount Hebron) won championships last night. Lauer improved to 12-0 this year -- 84-0 in his career -- with three pins, giving him 11 for the season.
Harvey (112) improved to 12-1 by getting three back points with nine seconds left for a 5-2 victory over Curley's Jim Barbour.
Curry (189, 10-3) outfought Loyola's Rob Collins for a 5-3 overtime victory.