As the postgame celebration began to dissipate on the ice, Andrew Landry skated over to his coach, Toby Heusser, and handed him the puck.
In his nine seasons at the helm of Urbana High School’s club hockey team, Heusser has collected pucks from some of the Hawks’ most memorable moments and keeps them on display in his basement.
Landry’s will soon be added to the collection after he lifted Urbana to the Monocacy Valley Hockey League championship Wednesday night at Skate Frederick.
“He is one of those kids we get on a lot because we know he has a lot of talent,” Heusser said of his former fifth-grade student after a 3-2 overtime win over the Carroll County Bears in the title game.
“We know that if he gets a shot on net, he can score any goal that he wants to.”
With Urbana enjoying a man-advantage in the first minute of overtime, Landry, a junior player for the Hawks, sent a hard wrist shot toward the net from just inside his own blue line, just to see what might happen.
“I couldn’t believe it went in. It was crazy,” Landry said after the puck skidded past the right pad of Carroll County goalie John Hallman and into the goal. “My dad [Kenneth] just passed away. So, that was a pretty special moment for me right there.”
While Landry chose to turn over the game-winning puck to his coach, he still left the ice with a commemorative souvenir.
In the postgame scrum along the boards to celebrate the win, senior teammate Dylan Leishman, the Hawks’ captain, gave a congratulatory head-butt.
Ordinarily, this would not be a problem. Except, lost in all of the excitement, Leishman forgot he had already thrown off his helmet.
So, when heads collided in this particular instance, Landry was left with a cracked face shield on his helmet while Leishman was left with a vertical gash on his forehead.
“I’ll be fine,” Leishman said, reaching up to touch the inch-long wound and smiling about his moment of absent-mindedness. “Nothing a little ice can’t fix.”
The win clinched Urbana’s first MVHL championship since 2011. The Hawks (11-3) will be the top seed in the 16-team Maryland Scholastic Hockey League Tournament, which begins next week.
The date and time of their first game, as well as their opponent, is to be determined. It will be played at Skate Frederick.
Urbana had split a pair of meetings with Carroll County this season, falling 7-1 and then earning a 4-3 victory over the Bears last Friday.
“All year long, these guys just worked their butts off,” Heusser said. “From Day One, I told them we have a lot of talent on this team. If we worked hard enough, [the MVHL title] would be ours.”
In the final two minutes of regulation, the Hawks were awarded a two-man advantage that carried over into the opening seconds of overtime. But they failed to cash in.
“My guys were getting tired,” Heusser said. “We were running two lines all game. We had to get a goal soon or [the outcome] could go the other way.”
Landry’s game-winner, which occurred with 9 minutes, 25 seconds left in overtime and 53 seconds remaining on Urbana’s power play, was his second of the game.
He also scored with 21.3 seconds left in the second period, as the Hawks reclaimed the lead at 2-1.
James Denis scored Urbana’s first goal at the 10:33 mark of the first period off assists from Landry and Chris Rerko, who finished with three assists.
“Every person on this team carries their weight and knows exactly what they have to do,” Leishman said. “Everyone gives their all every Tuesday in practice and in every game. It’s all come together for us at the right time.”