The boys’ hockey team had 11 seniors players play their final game in the first round playoff loss against Glenelg High School on Feb. 16.
Much of the goal scoring recently has come from sophomore sensation John Billingsley, but he was suspended for this game because he had two major penalties the game before, which led to an automatic ejection and one-game suspension.
In the opening seconds of the Glenelg game, senior Kun Do intercepted a pass, and nine seconds into the game he made it 1-0. Glenelg put up two goals during the first period, but sophomore Zack Lechner scored a highlight reel worthy goal with half a second left in the first to tie it at 2-2.
The second period was dominated by the Patriots, building a 6-4 lead with two goals each from sophomore Hunter Band and his brother, senior Nic Band. The power play was working well, and Nic Band got freed up on the powerplay twice for both of his goals.
The third period was all Glenelg as they tied it up 6-6. Then, junior Sidney Levine put the Patriots ahead 7-6 with just a few minutes left. The defense couldn’t hold and they let in the tying goal with under two minutes left.
Overtime ensued and neither team scored in the 10-minute period. There were plenty of chances for both teams, but neither could capitalize. Senior goalie Drew Keppler was coming up with clutch saves during the overtime period.
A scoreless overtime period led to the penalty shootout, where the Patriots lost 2-1 in a best of five. Hunter Band was the only one to score. After letting in seven goals during the game, Keppler let in only two out of five in the shootout, but didn’t get enough help from his skaters.
It was a truly disappointing end to a season that had so much potential. After a successful 11-3 regular season, a loss in the first round of the playoffs was unexpected. The team was hoping for nothing short of a state championship, and everyone believed that this was “the year.” Eleven seniors are graduating, and their production is going to be hard to make up. The foursome that led the team in total points this year-Lechner, the Bands and Billingsley-only played two games together, both of which were wins over a talented Whitman team. If it weren’t for suspensions and illnesses, the team very well could have made it to states vs. Churchill, as they would’ve met Whitman once again in the state semifinals. “With a full roster I truly believe we could’ve made it to states and even beat Churchill. They beat us by one in the first game without John, and he makes a really big difference,” Lechner said.
Hunter Band was an all Maryland Student Hockey League selection as a first team defender in a league that consists of over 40 teams.