BROOKLYN — Avon reached new heights this year with 28 wins in just its second varsity season of hockey, but the Eagles learned just how far they have to go before taking the next step to a state-power program dropping a district quarterfinal game to Holy Name 9-0 Saturday afternoon at the Brooklyn Recreation Center.
The Green Wave, the second-seeded team in the Brooklyn District, improved to 17-10-5 on the season and will face third-seeded St. Edward Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Brooklyn.
“It’s tough losing your last game, but only the champion in the state of Ohio will win its last game of the season,” said senior Eric Novakovic who finished the year with 60 goals. “It’s nice knowing that we had a great record before losing our last game of the year.”
Joe Meehan started off the scoring for Holy Name with a goal at 9:06 of the first period. It was the start of a big day for Meehan as he added six assists in the win.
Five other Green Wave players finished with at least two points in the post-season victory.
Tim Higgenbotham had a hat-trick and a pair of assists, Tyler Albitz knocked home a pair of goals with one assist, Steve Pratt had a tally and a pair of assist, Justin Sill had one goal with one assist and Troy Hodge had a pair of assists.
OHSAA hockey rules mandate a game end when a team trails by 10 goals, so pride took over for the Eagles (28-5-1) to avoid the mercy rule after Holy Name’s Jamie Bucell scored with 10:57 left in regulation to make the score 9-0.
“We came back to play a really good third period to keep them on the ice for a full 45 minutes,” said Avon coach Nick Novakovic. “They have speed that we have seen like that all year long. We really had to adjust to how fast they were on the ice.
“It was an eye-opener to see just how much better we can get as a program. You don’t get many opportunities to play a team that good. You really want to take advantage of the opportunity to see just where you are as a team.”
There weren’t many games this year that resulted in the Eagles being outshot 53-9, so the chances to score were few and far between for Avon.
Two of the best chances came in the second period trailing 5-0 when Braeden Friss had a shot turned away at 11:23 of the second period and Novakovic was denied by Green Wave goalie CJ Balodis.
The one Eagle that felt the wrath of the Holy Name offense was senior goaltender Joe Sefchik who stopped 44 shots against a Green Wave offense that never took a break on the ice.
“Aside from the harder shots, they were just so good setting up in front of the net to make things tough on me,” said Sefchik. “Hopefully the guys will be able to play more team like that so they are more prepared for just how fast and powerful they are on the ice.
“It was good for our pride to not be mercied in a big game like this. They guys really played hard to keep them from getting that 10th goal. I’m just so proud of everything we have done just to get to a game like this.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Holy Name 9, Avon 0
FIRST PERIOD: (HN) Joe Meehan (Steve Pratt), 9:06, (HN Tyler Albitz (Troy Hodge), 8:09, (HN) Justin Sill (Tim Higgenbotham, Meehan), 7:48. Penalties: None.
SECOND PERIOD: (HN) Higgenbothem (Meehan, Hodge), 14:46, (HN) Albitz (Meehan, Higgenbotham), PP, 12:52, (HN) Higgenbotham (Meehan, Sill), 8:09, (HN) Higgenbotham (Meehan, Pratt), 5:33, (HN) Pratt (unassisted), 1:00. Penalties: (A) Novakovic (roughing), 14:15, (A) Dominic Bowlin (slashing), 14:00.
THIRD PERIOD: (HN) Jamie Bucell (Albitz, Meehan), PP, 10:57. Penalties: (A) Bowlin (hooking), 10:57. Penalties: (A) Darren Certer (hooking), 10:57.
Avon 0 0 0 — 0
Holy Name 3 5 1 — 9
Shots on goal: Holy Name 53 (19-20-14), Avon 9 (2-4-3). Goalies: Holy Name: CJ Balodis (9 shots, 9 saves), Avon: Joe Sefchik (53 shots, 44 saves). Power-play opportunities: Holy Name 2-3, Avon 0-0.