Landon 5 DeMatha 1

BREAKING NEWS: LANDON REPEATS, GAMMILL SPEECHLESS!!!

By Herb Greenwald

What’s the bigger headline!

Landon completed another successful season, winning the MAPHL Championship just eight days after winning the IAC title. Landon is the first team to repeat as champions in the short five year history of the MAPHL. The Bears played just about a perfect game defeating DeMatha 5-1. DeMatha has been in the MAPHL finals all five years. In the words of one famous Landon alumnus, Blake Potolicchio, “it looked like Landon was just toying with them!”
The first period was up and down, with both teams feeding off the energy of their respective fans. With DeMatha focusing on the Landon scoring line of Matt Potolicchio, Max Greenwald and Graham Shue, (Blake who?), the Bears just waited for the mismatched lines to appear. Landon drew first blood when Isaac Porter gave Landon the go ahead goal at the 10:03 mark of the first period off of great passing from David Lackner and Ian Schneider. DeMatha tied the game on a power play slap shot from the blue line with 5:55 left in the first period. Da Bears just stayed focused and stuck with the game plan as Ian Schneider scored with a helper from Jack Barton with 4:43 left in the first period. The first period ended with Landon leading 2-1 while the shots on goal stood at 12 a piece.
Typical for this Bears team all season long, they just keep getting stronger and more determined as the game goes on. These Bears were on a mission. The second period started with the Bears dominating in the DeMatha zone as Captain Poto scored on a power play goal with an assist from Ian Schneider and Max Greenwald at 12:45 mark. With DeMatha getting very few scoring chances, the Bears took advantage of another power play opportunity. David Lackner scored with 4:46 left in the second period off of a nice pass from Jack Barton. The second period ended with Landon ahead 4-1. The shots on goal, Landon 18 and DeMatha 3.
Hockey purest would say the worst lead in hockey “is a two goal lead.” In high school hockey, a three goal lead is never safe. The Bears still had plenty of work to do. After an ice cut and rest for both teams, DeMatha was determined to start another comeback. In their previous two MAPHL playoff games, DeMatha came from behind to earn another finals appearance. They had their game plan, and were determined to come out firing on all cylinders. The Landon experienced players had other thoughts in mind. Coach Gammill started the third period with Potolicchio, Greenwald and Shue (Blake who?) at forwards. Assistant Captain Connor Meike and mini me, Christian Meike on defense. The Bears put the final dagger in DeMatha’s hopes just 24 seconds into the third period. Graham Shue (Blake who?) passed the puck up the right side to Captain Poto, which created a 2 on 1. Potolicchio made a perfect pass to my favorite player, Max Greenwald who “buried the puck” for the 5-1 lead. The final score LANDON 5, DEMATHA 1. Shots on goal, Landon 11 and DeMatha 3.
The above game summary certainly talks about offense and the Landon scoring. BUT, the real analysis starts here. After a fairly even first period, the Landon defense led by Connor Meike, mini me Christian Meike, Nick Malone, Chris Javens, Sellers Garrett and Mike Anderson played pretty much a perfect defensive game for 45 minutes. DeMatha was held to 3 shots on goal for the second and third period. All six defenders did exactly what they needed to do in order to shut down any chance of a DeMatha comeback. Our defense just continued to frustrate DeMatha anytime they tried to start any comeback. When Coach Farnstrom was asked about the defense, he said, “yeah, yeah , yeah,” but wanted to talk about Gammill being speechless.
Our role players don’t always get the lime light, nor do they get much press coverage. But simply put, without them, we don’t win. Tonight John Wellington, Jack Sears, Joel Rosenzweig, Johnny Cobb, Satchel Clendenin provided picture perfect hockey. They all were effective on the ice, created some nice scoring chances and refused to let DeMatha any chance of starting a comeback. But their most critical contribution was providing quality rest time to their teammates. The Landon Bears never looked tired, and these five players were the reason why. Although Will Buckingham wanted to play, but was advised by physicians not to. Will played strong all season long and was a force every time on the ice. By the way, Satchel Clendenin, as the only 9th grader on the varsity team, started the season as a Cub. But he’s now a full fledged Bear. Enough said.
So what’s a championship without talking about the goalie. In my opinion, Sam Kroll had his best game yet as a Bear. Under tough conditions, pressure and a packed venue, Sam simply made the saves he needed to make, including a few point blank shots right in front of the goal. Again, hockey purist would say that championships are won from the goal out. That proved to be the difference tonight. Our goalie was in top shape under the watchful eye of assistant Coach Peter Anas. Sam Kroll had 17 saves on 18 shots. The a save percentage of .944. That is a championship caliber stat from Sam Kroll. And for a big bear shout out for Orlando Arevalo. Orlando is the ultimate team player. According to Captain Potolicchio, “Every team needs an Orlando. He is always ready, shows up for every practice and is tough to score against. Orlando makes me work hard every practice. He makes me a better player.” Being the back up goalie in hockey is perhaps the toughest position to play. Similar to a back up quarterback, you need to be ready, have a positive attitude and be supportive of your teammates. Orlando is a Bear and a champion on and off the ice! Oh, yeah, Alex Joyce was providing his leadership despite being out for the season with an injury. After last years performance, Alex has his place in Landon hockey history.
So finally Coach Farnstrom wants to talk about Gammill. “Can you believe it, Chan Gammill speechless. At a loss for words! THERE REALLY IS A GOD!!! If this could only last for a few weeks.” Coach Lubin added, “Hell must be freezing over” Reports from the Gammill coaching staff in Connecticut were stunned. The Gammill boys said, “We have been trying to shut him up for years. We are so proud of the Landon hockey team. A double-peat (back to back IAC and MAPHL Championships) and a speechless Chan. Our Christmas wish came true.” Chan’s Mother, Candy Gammill said “nonsense. He must be sick. I am really worried about him.” And finally, Chan’s wife Meredith texted in, “A quiet house. I look forward to the silence.” The twitter lines are burning up. Even alumni weighed in on a speechless Gammill. “Wow, is that true. No way. Impossible. Never happen. This must be a misprint. Can you confirm this? I’m so jealous. That’s all I ever wanted! Yes Landon faithful, its true. Coach Gammill had nothing to say, but his smile spoke a thousand words, QUIETLY!
With that said, we still have a “That’s a Bear Award” to give out for the game. Since its 1:12AM on Saturday and I have the only vote, the award for this game goes to our Coaching Staff. Led by Head Coach Chan Gammill, Assistant Coach Hans Farnstrom, Assistant Coach Kathleen Lubin, Assistant Coach Peter Anas, and our trainers Stephan Herman and Matthew Virtue. The game plan was flawless, the playoff run in the IAC and MAPHL worked out perfectly despite some illness to players who couldn’t play. Most teams would be happy with one season like Landon had last year. To repeat, especially as the team to beat all year, is special. Its easy to win with talented hockey players, but championship are won by building team chemistry and faith in each other. Great job coaching staff. Our players thank you, the Landon student body thank you, our alumni thank you, our parents thank you, and your peers at Landon thank you. Even your spouses and family members thank you, because they won’t have to listen to you talk about Landon hockey until next November!!
Another great hockey season for the Landon Bears. Landon pride is sky high!

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Published in: on February 25, 2012 at 7:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

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