PHOTOS/VIDEO by Derek Toney

From the earliest stages of the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association B Conference ice hockey championship game on Friday afternoon at Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Gilman School goalie Liam Muhly was simultaneously under fire and on fire against a high-powered Loyola Blakefield offense.

While those two conditions don’t typically go together, they applied perfectly to the junior as he busied himself working the net in what turned out to be a 9-1 victory for the Dons that avenged a lopsided loss in last year’s B Conference final to the Greyhounds.

It took Loyola 13 shots to break through for its first goal, mainly because of Muhly’s toughness in the net.

Before junior Michael Stafford’s goal after some nice forechecking ignited what would be a prolific scoring spree for the Dons (12-6 overall), the Gilman net-minder made tough saves on Stafford and senior Jason Tucker prior to smothering another attempt from a face-off by freshman Jackson DeAdder.

Another Loyola freshman, Patrick Meckel, was denied on a shot headed for the top shelf moments before DeAdder one-timed a rebound past Muhly for a 2-0 advantage.

The shots were coming fast and furiously after that while the lead blossomed to 4-0 by the end of the opening period on goals by junior Charles Skinner and Tucker.

Loyola coach Mike Lortie said that he was feeling very confident as the Dons prepared to take the ice for the middle period.

“The kids were really focused and played as a unit,” said Lortie, whose team completed a perfect run (9-0) through the B. “We lost to Gilman last year, so we just kind of flipped the script on them.”

When Meckel slapped in a rebound early in the second quarter on a power play to boost the lead to 5-0, it was difficult to believe Gilman would be able to claw back into the game.

The Greyhounds (7-6) continued to scrap, however, and came up with their lone goal on a beautiful cross-ice move by senior Aaron McNabney.

Their jubilation was short-lived, though, because junior Logan Simmons answered with a goal just 25 second later to restore the five-goal cushion.

Simmons and fellow juniors Christopher Fiorino and Patrick McGinnis added goals down the stretch to produce the final margin, despite a 41-save effort by Muhly, one of 11 first-year players on the Greyhound roster.

“His effort makes up for his newness to the sport,” Gilman coach Zachary Collins said about Muhly, a Drexel University lacrosse recruit, who has played hockey for only three years. “What he did was admirable.”

Tucker, the lone Loyola senior, was not one to write off Gilman’s comeback hopes too early in the contest.

“We knew they had two big comeback wins against Saints Peter and Paul,” he said. “And we knew Gilman was our biggest competitor.”

Lortie said that Tucker was the undisputed team leader on whom the Dons, who claimed their first MIAA hockey crown, relied this season. 

“When we choose team captains, usually some different guys will get votes,” the coach said. “But with Jason, the vote was unanimous. He was a leader by example for us this year.”

at Piney Orchard Ice Arena
Gilman – Aaron McNabney; Loyola – Michael Stafford, Jackson DeAdder, Charles Skinner, Jason Tucker, Patrick Meckel, Logan Simmons 2, Christopher Fiorino, Patrick McGinnis.
Assists: Loyola – Jason Tucker 3, Logan Simmons, Michael Stafford, Luke Ankeny, Patrick McGinnis, Patrick Meckel.
Saves: Gilman – Liam Muhly 41; Loyola – Austin Foster 17