Falcons win 36th straight game in a rout

Bob Hough
Contact Reporterbhough@capgaznews.com

— Like most of its games this season, there wasn't a whole lot of suspense during Severna Park's state semifinal with Montgomery Blair on Friday.

The Blazers took the game's first four shots and scored the first goal, but it was all Severna Park the rest of the way. Steven Zichelli scored six goals and assisted on two others and Chase Cope added four goals and an assist to lead the Falcons to a 24-2 victory over the Blazers in a Class 4A/3A state semifinal at Gaithersburg High School.

Severna Park (19-0) won its 36th straight game and advanced to the state final on Tuesday or Wednesday at Stevenson University. The Falcons, who are shooting for their seventh state title and second straight, will face the winner of Saturday's other semifinal between Westminster and Winston Churchill.

"This feels awesome," Severna Park coach Dave Earl said. "I'm just really happy for our guys. They're a great, special group. The excitement was awesome and I'm really proud of them."

By their standards, the Falcons started slowly on Friday. Montgomery Blair won the game's opening faceoff and took a 1-0 lead on a goal from Uro Lyi just 27 seconds in. The Blazers forced a Severna Park turnover and recorded four shots before the Falcons took their first at the 8:15 mark.

The Falcons finally got on the board when Cope converted at the 7:51 mark to tie the game. Zichelli scored 21 seconds later to put the Falcons up for good, and the Falcons ran off six more and led 8-1 after one.

Cope scored his third goal a little more than a minute into the second quarter to make it 9-1. As the teams lined up for the ensuing faceoff, officials noticed lightning and the game was halted at 6:25 p.m. As a downpour ensued, the field became covered in water and the delay continued. As the rain finally ended and gave way to clear skies, officials from the school worked to remove the standing water on the field. The game finally resumed at 8:05 after a delay of 1 hour, 40 minutes.

"We're going to have a tough task on Tuesday or Wednesday," Earl said. "Churchill and Westminster are both very good teams. Whoever we're playing, we're going to line up and we're going to play them. We're going to play our style of game and it really doesn't matter who we're playing."

The Falcons picked right up where they left off prior to the delay. They scored twice in the first 10 seconds once play resumed and tacked on five more and took a 16-1 lead at halftime. The second half began with a running clock.

The Falcons continued to pour it on the rest of the game and finished with 12 goal-scorers.

When the Falcons play in the state final, they'll be looking to repeat for the second time. They won back-to-back titles in 2006-2007 during a stretch where they played in five straight state finals. Last year's title was their first since 2010, which was also the last time they played in a state final.

"We've talked about it since the fall. We have a bull's-eye on our back," Earl said. "It's up to us and how we respond to that. I don't think these kids would want it any other way."

GOALS: MB - Lyi, Bruwelheide; SP - S. Zichelli 6, Cope 4, Patschorke 2, Coffman 2, Rupert 2, Hansen 2, Thomas, Draughn, Chung, Gallagher, Cipriano, M. Zichelli. ASSISTS: MB - Tan; SP - S. Zichelli 2, Cope, Thomas, Betch, Maher, Harmeyer. SAVES: MB - Cales 10; SP - Carr 5. SHOTS: MB - 14; SP - 49. FACEOFFS: MB - 10; SP - 18.

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