After Stone Ridge fell to Spalding in last year’s Mid-Atlantic Girls Hockey League championship, Katherine Khramtsov, an eighth-grader at the time, knew the Gators would rebound. “We’ll get our championship,” she said then.
Khramtsov kept her promise, scoring seven goals as Stone Ridge clinched its first MAGHL championship with a 9-5 win over Georgetown Visitation at Gardens Ice House in Laurel on Friday to cap an undefeated season.
Khramtsov’s strategy entering the night was to “score as many goals [as possible], keep the team energy up.”
Combined with Coach Mary Carpenter’s game plan of “hard work, taking it to the net, getting rebounds, playing smart,” both strategies paid dividends early.
Two minutes into the game, Khramtsov snagged the puck at center ice, snaked it through a defender’s feet and bested Cubs goalie Caroline Schuler with a deke to her backhand for a 1-0 lead.
While confidence has never waned for the Gators this season, Carpenter thought it could be too high at times. “They’ve been pretty confident from Day 1, almost to the point where I was like, ‘All right, are we confident or cocky?’ ” Carpenter said.
That may have been an issue briefly Friday as the Cubs kept pace early with a wraparound from Annie Rehill on the next shift.
But the Gators stepped up their play after two penalty kills and key saves from Ellen Montgomery.
Again, Khramtsov provided the scoring; she stole the puck from Visitation off the dasher boards and rifled in a wrist shot.
Amid cheers of “Khrammy!” and “She’s a freshman!” the Gators poured it on. Senior captain Charlotte Flannery followed with a wrist shot for a score off a cross-ice feed from Vivi Rowan.
“I just saw the screen. There was a defense in front of me, and I thought, ‘I’m just going to shoot it low, and if it doesn’t go in, hope for a rebound,’ ” Flannery said.
Visitation responded twice to Stone Ridge tallies with goals, and with Khramtsov sidelined for a few shifts in the second period because of an asthma attack, Visitation kept the pressure on.
But when Khramtsov returned, she continued to overpower the Cubs with wicked wrist shots off stolen pucks. She sealed the win with a quick snap shot that clanked off the crossbar and in.
“We got it this year,” Khramtsov said. “I kept my word.”
In the second division championship, St. John’s beat Bryn Mawr, 8-3. The Cadets will play Holy Cross on Wednesday in the first WCAC girls’ final.