It took about seven seconds — as long as Brett Malamphy needed to dig the ball out on the faceoff, charge down the field, and toss it ahead to Kevin Haag — for No. 8 Arundel to make its statement: that loss to Broadneck in its regular season finale would not foreshadow an early postseason exit. And any team hoping to trip the Wildcats up in the Maryland 4A/3A playoffs will have to find a way to get possession first.

After Haag scored off Malamphy’s quick feed, Malamphy won the next faceoff. Then another. Then another, and before Broadneck had enough steady possession to find one goal, Arundel had five. It was an emphatic start to a game the Wildcats dominated at the finish in a 13-6 win that propels them into a Maryland 4A/3A East section final against South River, which dispatched Chesapeake, 14-3.

Malamphy wasn’t content with his performance at the X — “I lost one,” he said with no trace of sarcasm in his voice.

“We expect that of him,” attackman Jake Lawson said of Malamphy. “He’s done that all year.”

Ultimately, because of a few penalties and early jumps, Malamphy helped Arundel (14-2) control 15 of 22 total faceoffs, a solid ratio that played bigger in the context of Broadneck’s three-quarter-long comeback attempt. Each time the Bruins (10-4) looked ready to rally from the five-goal deficit Arundel handed them after a quarter, Malamphy would scoop up a faceoff, sometimes turning it into a quick-strike demoralizing goal, sometimes handing it off for a lengthy possession, and always holding the Bruins down.

“He’s done that for three years for us,” Arundel Coach Kevin Necessary said. “What it does is when you get up a few goals, it prevents runs. Tonight was a particularly dominating performance for him.”

Malamphy’s work at the X set up Haag and Lawson for productive offensive nights when Broadneck was still within striking distance, then sparked a six-goal fourth-quarter barrage that blasted the Bruins out of reach. Haag finished with three goals and Lawson five to pace Arundel, which had lost to Broadneck in its regular season finale 9-7 one week earlier.

“The offense had an off-game last time: unforced turnovers, mental turnovers,” Arundel goalie Andrew Jones said. “But they rose to the occasion — held the ball, put in goals when they needed to. And, plus, they can’t score if they don’t have the ball.”

While the defense forced double-digit turnovers, blocked some blistering Bruin shots, and got 15 saves from Jones, Malamphy and the offense shoved the pressure onto Broadneck’s defenders again and again. Only twice did the Bruins score without the Wildcats striking next, and Arundel went on two scoring runs of five goals or more.

“I thought the offense just came to play,” Necessary said. “We had poise, we spread the field, we controlled the ball, and got it done.”