Arundel products put Towson hockey on national map

December 20, 1992|By Tom Worgo | Tom Worgo,Contributing Writer

The Towson State ice hockey team experienced tremendous success last year and it's continued this season.

Last season, the Tigers won the Mason Dixon Hockey League with an 18-1 mark and finished 15th nationally in the American Collegiate Hockey Association poll, going 23-8-3 overall.

This year, Towson is 7-0 in conference play and ranked 16th nationally by the ACHA among 90 schools.

And at the center of the success has been several county residents and players who are products of the Odenton-based Chesapeake Bay Youth Hockey Program. This year's club features seven county residents and six ex-players from the Chesapeake program.

"Chesapeake has a strong program year in and year out," said Patrick McNeally, a 1987 Spalding graduate who played 12 years for the Chiefs. "It has been a feeder system for our program. And I think each year there will more kids from Chesapeake coming into our program."

McNeally, a center on the club's first line, became the school's all-time leading scorer last season with 238 points (108 goals, 130 assists).

And the 23-year-old senior is scoring in bunches again this year. In 16 games, McNeally had 16 goals and 24 assists, leading the team to a 11-4-2 record. Earlier this month, he earned MVP honors at the Mountaineer Invitational Tournament by tallying three goals and four assists in two games.

McNeally transferred to Towson from Ocean Community College New Jersey. He led the Vikings in scoring his freshman season with 25 goals and 27 assists.

"He's a great all-around skater who has a knack for setting players up," said Towson fifth-year coach Marshall Stevenson. "He's probably our best player."

Another player, forward/defenseman Rich Lowman, who registered 29 points (six goals, 23 assists) last season, also played for Ocean CC.

This year, Lowman, who played 11 seasons for Chesapeake, has four goals and three assists.

The 1986 Severna Park grad and Arnold resident serves as assistant team captain, and in 1990, he played for the Salt Lake City Golden Eagles, a semipro team.

"They have played hockey for a long time and have good !B maturity," Stevenson said of Lowman and McNeally, who have skated together since 1974. "They have provided a lot of leadership for this team."

Arundel grad Patrick Gilmore, who turned in 10 seasons for the Chiefs, ranks among the team leaders with 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists).

It could be only the beginning for what's to come for the junior center and Crofton resident.

Two sophomores, defenseman Jeff Towers (four goals, five assists) of Arnold and Roger Levering (five goals, eight assists) of Annapolis also figure to have a big future with the Tigers.

Towers played four years for Chesapeake and attended Severna Park, and Levering played eight seasons for the Chiefs and went to St. Mary's. "If you attract a player from a program and if they are successful and like being at that program, then usually others follow," Stevenson said.

Other sophomore Tigers who are county residents include defenseman Travis Roe (Crofton, South River) and left wing Chuck Fox (Millersville, Old Mill). Fox played three years at Chesapeake and Roe played eight seasons for the Bowie Youth Hockey Program.

"It's neat to see that all these players from Chesapeake are playing on the same team," Lowman said.

"When one-third of the team's players come from an organization and they can be part of a club that's ranked 16th nationally, then we really have something. And we are winning just like we used to at Chesapeake."

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