Atholton ice hockey coach Bud Michels may have clinched an undefeated regular season Wednesday afternoon at the Columbia Ice Rink with a 9-2 win over previously unbeaten Glenelg, but as always, the veteran coach still has his eyes on the bigger picture.
"We pretty much have the lowest penalties in the whole state," said Michels, whose team spent a season-high eight minutes in the box Wednesday night. "If you're a disciplined team you become a target. It was a physical game. They brought it to us but we were able to shut them down, so I'm really happy about that."
Atholton (10-0), the Maryland Student Hockey League state champion in 2012, has gradually become the class of Howard County, winning the County Cup each of the last two seasons. This season, the Raiders scored 81 goals against Howard County competition and allowed only 15.
"We run all of the lines and all of the players play, because that's why they're on this team," Michels said. "All in all the goal is to have everybody understand the system so that one player doesn't make the team."
Indeed, 17 Atholton players have scored two goals or more, led by Jason Pazulski's ten. Kyle Jacobs is right behind with nine goals and seven assists, while Matt Haney (ten assists) and Tre' White (eight assists) have scored seven goals each. Ryan Olsen and Evan Davis each have scored four goals with ten assists.
"Each line has its own identity," Jacobs said. "But the overall identity is just to be physical, get down on the forecheck, work it down low and speed. We don't have a big team, but go hard at the puck, turn it over and score is our philosophy."
Jacobs and Ben Fisher each scored twice in the win, while Matt Haney (goal) and Daniel Fisher each had a pair of assists.
Karen Hudson and Johnny Lyons (15 goals, 13 assists this season) each scored unassisted goals for the Gladiators (7-1) on Wednesday.
Atholton's closest games this season were a pair of 6-2 wins over Howard (6-2), and a 5-2 win over Marriotts Ridge (2-5) last week.