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  • Ben Hunt had two goals in the Falcons' 5-3 in over Annapolis on December 22.
    Photo by Colin Murphy
    Ben Hunt had two goals in the Falcons' 5-3 in over Annapolis on December 22.

Mission Possible For Severna Park Ice Hockey

Colin Murphy
View Bio
January 10, 2018

The mission for the Severna Park ice hockey team in 2018 is clear: make the playoffs.

The Falcons have a renewed pursuit of a berth in the Maryland Student Hockey League playoffs this season after falling just shy of the tournament last year, and they took a step toward achieving their goal with a 5-3 win over Annapolis at Bowie Ice Arena on December 22.

Two goals by Ben Hunt, scores by Henry Testerman, Aidan Byrd and Connor McGrath and 24 saves by Nic Howland helped the Falcons (4-2-2) to a fourth consecutive victory and a solid fourth overall win against a Panthers (2-3-1) team directly competing for a berth. Two assists each by Jacy Kuhlman and Durham Butcher as well as assists by Alex Garcia and Marcus Good fortified a strong all-around performance for the Falcons.

A 3-3 tie against Kent Island on January 2 put the Falcons at 4-2-2 overall. Against the Buccaneers, goals by Luke Bloom, Nigel Good and Byrd; assists by Butcher, Garcia and Kuhlman; and a whopping 52 saves by Howland allowed Severna Park to tie Kent Island, which currently sits in second place in the 12-team Eastern Conference of the Maryland Student Hockey League.

PHOTO GALLERY: Severna Park ice hockey vs. Annapolis, 12.22.17

After starting the year 0-2-1, the Falcons reeled off four straight wins to get back into contention, and as of January 4 are in third place in the 12-team conference that sends its top four teams to the playoffs. Dulaney (7-0-1) holds the conference’s top spot, while Kent Island (5-1-2), Severna Park, South River (4-3) and Fallston (4-3) comprise the top five.

In the win over Annapolis, chippy play led to penalties for both teams, and while head coach Eric St. Lawrence cautioned against stacking up shorthanded minutes, he like the aggression and purpose his team displayed.

“I think I saw some kids getting penalties for sticking up for each other, which I kinda like, even though I don’t like them getting in the [penalty] box,” said St. Lawrence, emphasizing that the team has rebounded from its slow start to play better. “They’re really starting to play well as a team and jell.”

He reiterated the team’s mandate of making the playoffs. After making the playoffs in 2015-2016, the team regressed slightly last year, going 4-5-1 and falling shy of a berth by a single point.

“We’ve got to make the playoffs,” said St. Lawrence. “We’re right on the cusp. We can’t beat ourselves out of the playoffs by losing win-able games. We lost a couple win-able games early on, but they kind of corrected themselves. … I’ve always noticed that kids on the Severna Park team get along really well. Whether it’s a kid who might not be getting his minutes or his shifts, they’re just really good friends and tight, and I’m starting to see it on the ice, five skaters and a goalie playing well.”

Kuhlman, a senior captain committed to play at Division-III Endicott College in Massachusetts who is one of two girls on the team along with Leah St. Lawrence, said the Falcons showed progress and proficiency in the Annapolis win, and that if they can secure a playoff spot, they can go on a run.

“We got a lot of shots on net, we were getting the puck in deep, and we played really well on the penalty kill, boxing out and intercepting the passes,” said Kuhlman. “We’ve improved so much since our first game, and I think we can do pretty well in the playoffs, just take it one game at a time and see what happens.”

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