ANNAPOLIS, MD (Sunday, February 27, 2011) The Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy ended their season on a high note tonight as their captain, Senior Sam Carlson, hoisted the Crabpot trophy, as the Mids became the champions of the 34th Annual Crabpot tournament.
Navy trounced Lehigh in the first round of the tournament on Saturday night, winning by a score of 10-1. In a similarly dominating fashion, they toppled Towson, their state and conference rival, 6-2. With their latest two wins, Navy finishes the season with an overall record of 22-11-1, and a conference record of 9-5-1.
Much of the credit for Navy’s success must necessarily go to the senior leadership of their captain, Sam Carlson. Carlson, who had a goal and two assists in tonight’s championship victory, has been the uncompromising force that has kept Navy steering on true winds this season. A fiercely competitive player by nature, Sammy has earned and maintained the respect and admiration of his teammates by his stolid work ethic, his down-to-earth atmosphere that he brings to the locker room, but also by his incredibly selfless devotion to his teammates. Arguably the hardest worker on the team, Carlson provides a stellar example for the underclassmen and his classmates alike. However, it would be an injustice to the rest of the senior leadership to fail to mention Carlson’s supporting staff. Fellow Senior’s, Steve Csutoros, Jon Wheeler, Matt Roberts, Mike Orzetti and Jake Stevens-Haas have likewise added to the building of an unbelievably strong Navy team.
Before this afternoon’s game, junior goaltender Jameson Marshall – another imperative facet to Navy’s success – noted that after the tough loss the team sustained last weekend in the ECHA tournament, “I just really want this win for the seniors. Sammy and the rest of the guys have put everything out on the line for us, and we need to get them one today.” It certainly looked as though Navy was playing with a purpose, as they fought measure for measure against a hard-nosed Towson team. Towson, who has historically proven to be a thorn in Navy’s side, especially in the Crabpot, did not have the gusto to hang with Navy for 60 minutes today, as Navy put on a relentless pressure in the offensive zone. With goals from Tommy Reed, Sam Carlson, Tom Krysil, Jim Tumolo, and Travis Franklin, coupled with 29 saves by Jameson Marshall, Navy took the game handedly.
For the seniors, this moment proves bittersweet, as in the face of their hard earned and well deserved victory, they now lay claim to the end of another chapter in their lives. For the Midshipmen, they shall leave their school and their hockey careers behind to go out and serve as the leaders in our nation’s military – a service for which we are certainly grateful – but as Carlson expressed this morning, “the hardest part will be leaving the guys behind…I’m going to miss all of them.” Undoubtedly, they will miss Carlson, too and the rest of the seniors as well, as each member of the class of 2011 brought with them a unique set of offerings for the greater good of the team. But for now, they can enjoy the sweetness of the moment. Congratulations Navy Hockey on being 2011’s Crabpot Champions.