The defending state champion Atholton ice hockey team saw its title defense come to an abrupt end Feb. 21 in a 6-4 loss to Easton at The Gardens Ice House in Laurel.
“Their size really dominated our team. We have guys that are fast but not big,” Atholton coach Bud Michels said. “They have the luxury of having big guys who are also fast ... they won a lot of faceoffs against us and that really hurt us.”
Easton (13-1) took an early 3-0 lead on first-period goals by D.J. Cicotte, Brandon Miles and Garrett Olds.
Olds scored again early in the second period to put the Warriors ahead, 4-0.
But the defending Maryland Student Hockey League state champion Raiders were not going down without a fight.
Atholton (11-2-1) scored four unanswered goals — by Daniel Fisher, Matt Haney, Daniil Zeller and Derek Potter — to tie the game early in the third period. Potter and Fisher also collected assists for Atholton.
“As we did all season long, we spread the wealth,” Michels said.
But less than 20 seconds after Potter’s game-tying goal, Cicotte scored what turned out to be the game winner.
Less than a minute after that, Nick Olds tallied the final goal for the Warriors.
Nick Olds and Ben Coughlin each had two assists for Easton.
Easton goalie Jonathan Thomson made 22 saves, while Atholton’s Tommy Pappas had 23.
Atholton played penalty-free in the game, and Easton committed only three penalties.
“We have a very disciplined team,” Michels said.
Easton, which has never won an MSHL state title, played two-time champion Winston Churchill Monday night at
The Gardens Ice House. Winston Churchill won the game, 6-1, to complete its season 19-3-0. The Bulldogs outscored their opponents in the playoffs, 27-1.
Atholton defeated Huntingtown, 6-2, for last year’s MSHL Capitals Cup state championship. It was the Raiders first MSHL state championship.
“Our goal has always been to win the Howard Cup, and everything after that we take as it comes,” said Michels, whose team is graduating only four seniors and gaining nine incoming freshmen. “I feel pretty good about our team for the next four or five years.”