Head up, Severna Park keeps victory in its sight

Falcons focus on avoiding playoff failure of last year

Hockey notebook

High Schools

January 14, 2003|By Mike Frainie | Mike Frainie,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Severna Park's ice hockey team is off to a great start this season, counting wins over Gonzaga's Tier I squad and Howard County power Atholton among its 19 victories. The Falcons have a narrow loss to Mount St. Joseph, which won the Tier II championship last year, to show among their three defeats.

Still, it's the one that got away in February that motivates the team.

Last year, the junior-dominated Falcons entered the playoffs with a 26-1-1 record and were heavily favored against Southern of Anne Arundel County. Although the Bulldogs dressed eight players compared with 21 for Severna Park, they rallied from a 3-0 deficit and shocked the Falcons, 5-4, in the Eastern Conference championship of the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League playoffs.

"It's brought up a lot," said Severna Park forward David Spohn. "I think I've gotten over it, but I'm sure that some guys haven't."

Spohn, who is second on the team with 58 points, believes the loss taught the Falcons a powerful lesson.

"This year's different," Spohn said. "We have 11 seniors on the team, and we grew as a team because of the loss. We're such good friends, and most of us have played together for a long time. We have a lot of confidence in each other."

The confidence originates with the Falcons' first line. Center and team captain Mitch Belisle (90 points) and freshman winger Luke Freeman (35 points) do most of the damage offensively. Spohn says that even the defense likes to get into the act.

"Even our defensemen are offensive-minded," Spohn said. "Everybody on our team wants the puck."

The Falcons turned in another workmanlike effort Friday at Benfield Ice Rink, defeating Prince George's County's Eleanor Roosevelt, 11-1.

Atholton looks strong

Speaking of teams on a roll, Atholton is doing a good job of defending its Howard County championship.

The Raiders beat Howard, 8-2, and Oakland Mills, 10-0, last week to run their county record to 5-0. Only River Hill stands in the way of Atholton for another title. The Raiders meet the Ice Hawks on Friday at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel.

Defenseman Colin Brumsted and forward Pat Cavanaugh lead the team in scoring. The defense will have to improve if the Raiders are to advance further in the Tier II playoffs than last season, when the Raiders lost in the second round to Southern-AA.

Atholton has been trying to upgrade its schedule this year. The Raiders participated in Gonzaga's Purple Puck tournament in Washington over the Christmas break and went 2-2 against teams like Severna Park and Mount St. Joseph's Tier II team.

"The tournament was good for us," said Jim Brumsted, Colin's father and Atholton's coach. " ... Some of the Mount St. Joe parents told me they couldn't believe we were a public school team."

Not bad

Coach Robert Ferrari didn't know what to expect when he formed the Old Mill hockey program this season. Made up of students from Old Mill and a few from Glen Burnie, the team has done surprisingly well, compiling a 5-2-1 record as well as a 2-1-1 mark in the Eastern Conference of the Maryland Scholastic Hockey League.

Old Mill got another win Saturday night, when forward Blake Sunderland fired a one-timer past Bowie's goalie with five minutes left for a 5-4 victory.

"The team plays well together," Ferrari said. "If you watch us play together, you wouldn't think this was a first-year team."

Ferrari intends to build the program. He has received some encouragement from the schools, but Old Mill will not let the team use its Patriots nickname.

"We're trying to get the school to sort of adopt the team," Ferrari said. "We may not have a nickname, but we do want to have an identity around the school."

The team may find out just how much growing it needs to do at 3:45 p.m. Friday when it meets Severna Park at Benfield.

Games to watch

Thursday: Calvert Hall vs. Archbishop Spalding at Piney Orchard, 4:15 p.m.

Friday: Boys' Latin vs. Gilman at Ice World, 3:45 p.m.

Friday: River Hill vs. Atholton at Gardens Ice House (Laurel), 3:30 p.m.

Friday: Old Mill vs. Severna Park at Benfield, 3:45 p.m.

Monday: DeMatha vs. Mount St. Joseph at Gardens Ice House (Laurel), 6 p.m.

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