• The Pitch staff is on summer break and will resume publishing in September
  • The first day of school is Monday, August 26
  • Have a great summer!
The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

The official student newspaper of Walter Johnson High School

The Pitch

Icecats fall to Wolves in first round of states

Courtesy Livebarn
The Icecats start the game in an intense face off against the Howard County Wolves. The Icecats lost 3-2 bringing their title defense to a premature end.

The WJ Icecats faced off against the Howard County Wolves in the first round of the state tournament on Thursday, Feb. 22, losing 3-2 and ending their season. As the 2023 state champs, the Icecats had hoped to be the first team since Winston Churchill High School in 2020 to defend a state title.

A 6-0 win against conference rivals DC Stars on Feb. 9 secured the Icecats’ entrance into the 16-team state tournament. Drawn as the second seed from the Montgomery Hockey Conference, the Icecats were also seeded second within their pot of four state teams, facing off against the third-seed Wolves, who finished second in the Howard County Conference with a regular season record of 6-4.

“I was feeling confident, our team is good this year and coming out of a shutout made the team feel really connected. We were all ready to face our next opponent and the chemistry was there even though we sadly couldn’t pull out the win,” freshman goalie Isaac Russ said.

The Wolves took the first lead around 10 minutes into the game with a goal from Centennial High School senior Ciaran Brighton, followed less than a minute later by another goal from the stick of Centennial senior Christopher Arcuri.

Story continues below advertisement

The Icecats would respond 30 seconds later with a goal from senior Adam Pyott assisted by junior Jack Potash. Throughout the game, the potent Icecats offense peppered Wilde Lake High School senior and goalie Dylan Collora with shots, outshooting the Wolves 26-15. Collora recorded 24 saves and a .923 save percentage compared to Russ’ 12 saves and .800 save percentage.

The team also played out with an intensity that had been unmatched in previous games. Senior Jon Corwin found himself getting heated in the first period, getting into a physical altercation and pulling an opponent’s mask, leading to him being ejected from the game and the team being assessed a major penalty (five minutes).

The Wolves took advantage of the extended man advantage to take a 3-1 lead with a power play goal nine seconds into the second period by Brighton. Overall, the Icecats were assessed 31 penalty minutes, including another game misconduct against sophomore Henry Horwell in the second period for boarding.

“Being ejected from the game was eye-opening, I didn’t realize until after the game that that was the last time I would step off the ice wearing a WJ jersey,” Corwin said.

The loss of Corwin, normally a stalwart on defense and the team’s quarterback on the power play unit, proved to be a large detriment to the team’s efforts to get back in the game. The Icecats received a total of six power plays in the game, including five after Corwin’s ejection, none of which the team was able to capitalize on.

Entering the third period, the Wolves held a 3-1 lead, which was reduced to a one-goal lead with under eight minutes remaining, courtesy of a second Pyott goal.

“[Scoring the two goals] was good while it lasted; we sadly lost the game so it didn’t mean that much at the end. The second goal especially motivated us,” Pyott said.

With the one-goal deficit, Pyott drove in a third goal for a hat trick late in the third period; however, the goal was called off by the refs for offsides. In a last-ditch effort to level the game, Russ left the net with 1:30 left in the game. The hail mary did not come to fruition and the game ended with the final buzzer 3-2.

With the loss and the end of the season, the team will lose its nine seniors, including senior captain Brendan Klotz and alternate captain Corwin. The pair were named second-team All-MSHL on Feb. 26.

However, eight of the ten top scorers on the team by points this season were underclassmen, leaving plenty of talent on the Icecats’ roster for next year’s return and revenge campaign.

View Comments (1)
Donate to The Pitch
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Walter Johnson High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Seyun Park
Seyun Park, Print Editor-in-Chief
Junior Seyun Park is in his third year of the Pitch, happy to join this year as a Print Editor-in-Chief. Outside of Pitch, Seyun plays tennis and cello, and likes to follow hockey.
Zoe Ottenritter
Zoe Ottenritter, Online Feature Editor
Senior Zoe Ottenritter is thrilled to be apart of the Pitch as an Online Feature Editor. This is her first year on the Pitch but also enjoys hanging with friends and watching reality TV!
Donate to The Pitch
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • L

    Liam DMar 3, 2024 at 11:24 am

    Great reporting y’all keep it up