There’s no better way to avenge a defeat than to come back and beat a rival in the playoffs.
Even better if it’s for a conference championship.
The Severna Park ice hockey team achieved that feat on February 12, coming from 1-0 down to defeat Easton 2-1 and win the Maryland Student Hockey League Eastern Conference championship at Bowie Ice Arena.
Goals by Marcus Good and Henry Testerman and 20 saves by Nic Howland allowed the Falcons to rally for the win and lift the MSHL’s massive Eastern Conference trophy cup as conference champs.
The Easton Warriors, who defeated Severna Park 3-0 in the regular season, presented a challenge that required a focused effort and a commitment to minimizing penalties, said Falcon coach Eric St. Lawrence.
“Our team came into this game knowing what they were up against,” said St. Lawrence. “The Easton Warriors are well-coached and committed (with) heart, skating athletes. They play a heavy game and often take their opponents off their game plan with hard body checks, inciting retaliation penalties. This was a point of our preparation, and our captains led by example, skating through the checks and avoiding the whistle. We won the (penalty in minutes) game with two minor penalties versus three by Easton. That alone very well may have been the key to our success.”
Severna Park never wavered in its game plan despite facing an early deficit. Easton’s Kai Kelly closed the first period with a goal to put his side up, 1-0.
“The first period ended with just a one-goal hole to dig out of, and the team responded by playing playoff-style hockey,” said St. Lawrence.
Severna Park tripled Easton’s shot-on-goal total in the second period alone, forcing gameplay deep into its offensive zone and making the Warriors defend for long stretches. The Falcons’ efforts produced a game-tying goal less than two minutes into the second period, as Good converted assists by Thomas Kondracki and freshman Jake Ciuba.
Less than three minutes later the Falcons were ahead 2-1, getting a goal by senior captain Henry Testerman, assisted by sophomores Johnny Clements and Ryan Laughlin.
The Falcons’ aggressive forecheck was key to sustaining pressure.
“We played as a team, had great goaltending and a great forecheck,” said Testerman. “Our team really stepped up to seize the moment.”
The team had a productive talk between the second and third periods to lay the groundwork for completing the game.
“Commitment to smart team play, stellar defense and goaltending kept the relentless Easton Warriors from extending the game beyond regulation,” said St. Lawrence.
Howland shut out Easton over the final two periods to anchor the win, but he was complimentary of the entire team in producing the victory.
“The defense really showed up to play today, really able to eliminate scoring opportunities, but the offense really won the game,” Howland said. “We were able to tilt the ice and keep the puck in their zone for second and third period, and that limited their chances for scoring.”
The team celebrated at center ice, taking pictures and hoisting the championship trophy.
Severna Park had earned its way into the conference championship with a pair of dominant playoff victories. The Falcons defeated Dulaney 9-0 on February 7 and Fallston 6-1 on February 10 to reach the conference championship, getting goals across the two wins from Connor McGrath, Clements, Josh Testerman, Ryan LaRocque, Aiden Byrd, Durham Butcher and Laughlin and assists by Good, Henry Testerman, Josh Testerman, Butcher, Clements, McGrath, Ben Hunt, Stephen Oxley and Ryan Briller.
Following the win over Easton, Severna Park advanced to the state tournament, where the team fell 6-4 to Frederick County Hockey Club, a combined team with players from multiple Frederick County high schools.
The Falcons finished the season 13-3 overall, including 3-1 in the playoffs with an MSHL Eastern Conference championship, getting senior leadership throughout the season from Hunt, Henry Testerman, Howland, Oxley, McGrath, Ethan Meyer and Colin DeFeo.
The team is coached by St. Lawrence and assistant coaches Jeff Meyer, Ken Good and Michael Phelan.
Hunt, a team captain, said the win over Easton was the right challenge at the right time.
“That was the most difficult game we’ve played, but it was also the best game we’ve played,” Hunt said.