senior sports editor
After one of the best seasons in recent memory, the Patriots were unable to win the state final, falling to Churchill on Mar. 1 at Gardens Ice House. They took down Easton, Marriott’s Ridge and Carroll County on the way to the state final. Senior defenseman Hunter Band finished off the season leading the team in points (25) and goals (15), while senior forward John Billingsley led the team with two points per game. Billingsley was happy with his performance even though he didn’t play the entire season. “I feel like I put my team in a good position to win for the most part,” Billingsley said.
The Patriots faced off against Easton on Feb. 21, winning 5-1. Billingsley and Band each tallied two goals of their own while sophomore forward Nick Billingsley had one goal. Junior goalie Colin Brick saved 12 of the 13 Easton shots. Senior forward Jake Smith liked how the team came out strong in the first playoff game. “We were able to be successful because we out hustled Easton,” Smith said.
They then went on to play against Marriotts Ridge on Feb. 25, coming away with a win 3-2. Band and both Billingsley brothers scored for the Pats. Brick was able to save 26 of the 28 Marriotts Ridge shots.
Two days later, the Patriots played against Carroll County on Feb. 27. They were able to shut out their opponents winning 2-0. Early on in the second period, Smith was hit hard into the boards by a Carroll County defender, breaking his arm. He was carted off the ice and was taken to the nearest hospital. The Patriots were able to rally around him by not allowing a goal on any of the 23 Carroll County shots. Band, who scored both the goals for the Patriots, dedicated the win to Smith. “After Jake went down, I knew we had to win it for him because of how important he has been to our team all year long,” Band said.
And then the Patriots went on to face rival Churchill in the state final on Mar. 1 in front of almost 1,240 fans at the Gardens Ice House. The team jumped out to a fast start when junior forwards Scotty Collinson and Daniel Tomashevsky scored goals in the first period. Churchill responded with a goal of their own, followed by a John Billingsley goal and another Churchill goal, ending the first period with the Patriots leading 3-2.
The second period didn’t have as much offense, with only one Churchill goal. The score was 3-3 heading into the final frame. Churchill scored two quick goals to put them ahead. And then, with 51 seconds left Billingsley scored to give the Patriots some hope. Their comeback came up short, as they couldn’t score one more goal to push it to overtime. While Billingsley was disappointed with the result he was proud of his team’s effort. “Even though we lost, I was very happy with how we played and that we left everything out on the ice.” Billingsley said.
Billingsley and Band were selected to the All-Tournament team.