The Severna Park ice hockey team improved to 9-2-0 with a 7-0 thrashing of rival Broadneck at Piney Orchard Ice Arena on January 20.
Thomas Kondracki led Severna Park with a pair of goals, while goalie Nic Howland posted a 30-save shutout to help the Falcons maintain third place in the Maryland Student Hockey League’s 14-team Eastern Conference.
“The kids played well,” said Falcons head coach Eric St. Lawrence. “It’s a climb. We’re constantly climbing up a ramp all season, and we’re really starting to gel together.”
The match drew a spirited crowd of supporters to Odenton, and the Falcons delivered a robust performance in front of friends and family.
Severna Park largely dominated the game’s opening minutes until Kondracki’s left-handed wrister gave the Falcons a 1-0 lead midway through the first period. Almost immediately following the ensuing faceoff, sophomore Josh Testerman sent a pass to freshman Johnny Clements, who slotted the puck into the net for a 2-0 lead.
Kondracki, a junior, cleared space with some nice stick work in the second period and fired a shot that pinged the underside of the crossbar for a goal and a 3-0 lead, and he skated with a smile over to the cluster of Severna Park students banging the boards on the sideline.
Kondracki credited the team’s offensive play with freeing him up to score.
“In the offensive zone there was a lot of puck movement,” said Kondracki. “I was able to get the puck at the point from my offense men down in the zone, and from there I was able to skate it in and get a couple good shots off on the net.”
Speedy Broadneck freshman Nick White, who leads the Bruins in goals (18) and assists (7), did his best to disrupt Severna Park’s assault, multiple times skating through the Falcon defense to get a shot off.
But Howland was there with a stop every time to thwart any Broadneck attempt to build momentum. Howland made a pair of point-blank kick saves in the second period, then another nice stick save on a great move and shot by White.
“Defensively we were doing a great job of funneling them outside and forcing them to take bad shots,” said Howland. “That was really the key, was taking away their speed, making sure they get to the boards so they can’t get a good shot off on me.”
Falcon freshman Ryan LaRocque got into the scoring column to open the third period, and Severna Park led 4-0. The Falcons poured it on in the game’s final moments, seeing goals by freshman Jake Ciuba, sophomore Michael Wiley and junior Durham Butcher, with assists by Testerman, Ben Hunt and Connor McGrath, to win 7-0.
Howland made another series of saves throughout the third period and in the game’s closing moments to preserve the shutout.
Hunt, a team captain, said the rivalry win is a confidence booster for a Severna Park team looking to get stronger in anticipation of the playoffs, with potential rematches with Easton and Fallston looming — Easton and Fallston have delivered Severna Park’s only two losses this season, by 3-0 and 3-1 scores.
“It’s really exciting,” said Hunt. “This is the game probably most people show up to. It’s always fun to play Broadneck. That’s a big boost, because [the Bruins] are No. 4 [in the standings], and they’re a great team, and it just shows that if we come out to play, we can win if we really want to.”
Broadneck dropped to 5-4-2 overall, though the Bruins have a balanced and capable roster with White, James Terry (4 goals, 7 assists), Evan Rivera (5 goals, 5 assists), Colin Bright (4 goals, 5 assists), Grace Wildberger (4 goals, 4 assists) and Matthew Marinello (3 goals, 3 assists) all having strong statistical totals. Josh May (18 saves) and Chris Lowe (7 saves) split goaltending duties for the Bruins against Severna Park and have done so throughout the season.
Bright, the Bruins’ captain, thinks the squad can reach the playoffs and hopefully pull off a playoff win or two.
“The strength of our team this year has really been our depth,” Bright said. “We have a full four lines when everyone’s playing, and we can really run those lines, and that really plays to our strength. In this league, being able to roll those lines and keep your guys fresh is really important.”
He added that a lot of the Bruins and Falcons share club uniforms, adding another layer to the rivalry.
“A bunch of us play on club teams together, so it’s always fun to play against kids you play with other times. Just like any other sport, playing against Severna Park is a big one.”
The Falcons, meanwhile, have one of their stronger teams in recent years. They played the Bruins without captain Henry Testerman, who is second on the team in goals with 10 and also has 6 assists. Aidan Byrd (9 goals), Clements (8 goals, 9 assists), Josh Testerman (6 goals, 12 assists), Butcher (7 goals), Hunt (6 assists) and Leah St. Lawrence (6 assists) have contributed to a potent Severna Park offense.
“Our core group of captains have been awesome,” said coach St. Lawrence. “Henry Testerman, Josh Testerman, Johnny Clements on the first line, very difficult for teams to play against. They really move the puck around, cycle down low, they’re our No. 1 power play unit, and they’re good on the defensive end.”
Howland alternates games with goalie teammate Ethan Meyer, and both have been stellar. Howland is saving shots at a .900 percentage and has 6 wins; Meyer is right behind at .849 and 3 wins.
Henry Testerman cited outstanding goalie play as an effective offensive generator.
“We’re pretty fast this year, so we’re able to go right through, and then we have great goaltending,” said Testerman. “Nic Howland and Ethan Meyer, they’re both going strong this year, and it’s fun to play in front of them. They’re always able to stop the puck and give us the ability to push forward and play some offense.”
Coach St. Lawrence lamented the Falcons’ too-frequent trips to the penalty box as a season-long bugaboo, including the Falcons’ two penalties against Broadneck, and he cautioned the dangers of penalties come playoff time.
But he also expressed confidence the Falcons get to the state tournament by winning the conference.
“Our intention is to get out of the [MSHL] East and go face whoever’s No. 1 in Montgomery County,” said St. Lawrence.
The Falcons have games remaining against St. Mary’s and Arundel before playoffs begin in early February.
Henry Testerman said the plan is for an extended playoff run.
“We want to win the MSHL Eastern conference and get that good positioning for states,” said Testerman. “We definitely want to go deep in the playoffs.”