NORTH OLMSTED — Lakewood wanted nothing to do with a shootout against Avon in the Eagles’ second annual holiday tournament Sunday afternoon at the North Olmsted Recreation Center.
So, the Rangers won it in overtime.
Lakewood’s Victor Dobos scored with 2:18 left in overtime to give the Rangers a 3-2 win, avenging last year’s shootout loss to Avon in the inaugural tournament and a 4-2 loss in pool play Thursday.
“We were just looking to get some pressure on the goalie (Joe Sefchik) in overtime,” Dobos said. “We were just looking for a rebound or a garbage goal, anything to keep us from having to go to a shootout.”
Dobos’ game-winner was necessary after the Eagles’ Eric Novakovic scored with the goalie pulled with 18 seconds left to tie the score at 2-2. It was his 30th goal of the year.
Novakovic’s equalizer negated a go-ahead goal by Lakewood’s Luke Walkush just 2:40 earlier off a Zach Moran assist.
Novakovic’s score came after the Rangers (10-2-1) were whistled for icing and the following faceoff came back in the Lakewood offensive zone. The Rangers won the puck, but it eventually found its way to Novakovic out between the blue and red line.
Novakovic angled to his left, skated around a pair of Ranger defenders and was able to beat Lakewood goalie Nate Bonacuse to send the game into the extra session.
“You don’t want to be in that situation, but if you have to pull your goalie, you just hope someone can make a play for you,” said Avon coach Nick Novakovic, whose Eagles fell to 9-9. “Eric really made a great play there to cut the corner and put the puck in the upper right-hand corner.”
Novakovic opened the scoring for a 1-0 lead when he put a shot on Bonacuse that was initially stopped, but the puck went straight up and over his head into the net for a 1-0 lead with 8:16 remaining in the first period.
Lakewood’s first score come on a power play in the second period, when Colin Scheel scored just seven seconds after an interference call on Hayden McDougald that tied it with 11:24 remaining.
Lakewood may not have even needed the extra session had it not been for Sefchik, who stopped 31 shots in the game, many coming at point-blank range.
“It really was a tough situation having to go to overtime after giving up a goal late, especially after losing in a shootout last year,” Rangers head coach Josh Dress said. “(Sefchik) is really a quality goaltender. We had a lot of shots, but he just kept making the save.”
Sefhick initially made the save on Scheel’s shot in overtime, but the puck caromed off to his left where it found Dobos for the game-winner.
“This was really a good game all-around and it’s a tough loss,” Eric Novakovic said. “This was really a fun game to play in and we played pretty well as a team, so that makes it a little bit easier not to come away with the win.”
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lakewood 3, Avon 2
Lakewood 0 1 1 1 — 3
Avon 1 0 1 0 — 2
FIRST PERIOD: (A), Eric Novakovic (Dominic Bowlin), 8:16. Penalties — None.
SECOND PERIOD: (L) Colin Scheel (Victor Dobos, Chris Richardson) PP, 11:24; Penalties — (L) Jake Gregory (hooking), 14:25, (A) Hayden McDougald (interference), 11:31, (A) Bowlin (high stick), 7:42, (L) Scheel (roughing), 6:20, (A) Brian Fielding (roughing), 2:23, (A) McDougald (hooking), 1:38, (A) Neal Novotny (unsportsmanlike), 0:31, (L) Chris Richardson (unsportsmanlike), 0:13.
THIRD PERIOD: (L) Luke Walkush (Zach Moran), 2:58, (A) Novakovic (unassisted), 0:18. Penalties — (L) Matt Johnson (tripping), 13:59, (A) Bowlin (charging), 9:29, (L) Johnson (tripping), 8:26.
OVERTIME: (L) Victor Dobos (Colin Scheel, Tommy Kettel), 2:18.
Shots on goal: Lakewood 34 (9-15-8-2), Avon 23 (7-6-9-1). Goalies: (Lakewood) Nate Bonacuse (23 shots, 21 saves); (Avon) Joe Sefchik (34 shots, 31 saves). Power-play opportunities: Lakewood 5-1, Avon 4-0.