ELYRIA — Zach Little said he never saw the pass that gave him the chance to give Avon Lake its first point of the Lorain County Tournament.
“I just crashed the net and put it in,” Little said. “I didn’t see who passed it. I just saw the puck out front and buried it.”
It was Alex Dillon who passed the puck in front of the net, about 5 to 6 feet from the goal line. Little knocking it in with 2:40 to play enabled the Shoremen to skate to a 3-3 tie with Avon, giving both teams one point after two games in the six-team tournament.
The goal came 3:08 after Hayden McDougald had broken a 2-all tie with a shorthanded goal to put Avon ahead. The tie left Avon with a 4-3-1 overall record and put Avon Lake at 2-4-1.
Teams in the Lorain County Tournament get two points for a win and one for a tie. Both the Eagles and Shoremen had lost their first tournament games.
“Consistency was the name of the game,” Avon Lake coach Eric Tetzlaff said. “The way our guys battled back after Avon’s third goal made this a good point to get.”
The Shoremen were consistent on offense, with 10 shots on goal in each period. Avon Lake also scored a shorthanded goal and had one power-play goal.
Little’s goal was the only goal of the game scored with the teams skating five-on-five. Avon struck twice on power plays in the first period.
The most consistent Avon Lake player of the game was goalie Ben Sherman, who handled 56 shots and made more than a few remarkable saves. Sherman rarely gave the Eagles a rebound opportunity and forced Avon to shoot wide or high often.
“Sherman played great,” Tetzlaff said. “If he’s on his game we’re in contention in any game. We lean on him quite a bit.”
“He played an outstanding game,” Avon coach Nick Novakovic said of Sherman. “We needed to do a better job of going side to side and making him move a little more, but it didn’t happen.”
Avon’s Kory Carter also played a great game in goal. In fact, Carter denied Little a chance at a goal in the third period when Little found himself on a breakaway after a fortuitous bounce off the stick of Avon defenseman Ryan Byrne. Little’s attempt sailed to Carter’s left side.
“I didn’t give him anywhere to shoot,” said Carter, who had 27 saves on 30 shots. “I’m pretty good on breakaways.”
As for the tying goal, Carter said, “I saw it, and I was trying to go get it. Zach got there first and he pushed it in. It was bouncing off a lot of skates.”
“All three of Avon Lake’s goals were second and third chances,” Novkovic said. “Kory played well, but they had too many second and third chances.”
Probably the most heartbreaking goal was a buzzer-beater to end the first period. Avon had taken a penalty seven seconds before the conclusion of the period. Ricky Tomer put in a shot barely before the sound of the horn stopping play.
“That was a momentum killer,” Novakovic added. “(Avon Lake) had a little jump in their step after that.”
Eric Novakovic and Tyler Lance scored power-play goals for the Eagles in the first. Dillon scored a shorthanded goal 10 seconds before the end of a penalty in the second period for a 2-2 tie.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avon 3, Avon Lake 3
FIRST PERIOD: 1. Avon, Eric Novakovic (Neal Novotny), 9:05; 2. Avon, Tyler Lance (Hayden McDougald, Novakovic), 12:18; 3. AL, Ricky Tomer (Guillaume Cachot, Zach Little), 15:00. Penalties — AL, Zack Verfaillie (interference), 7:24; Avon, Matt Tomlin (interference), 9:57; AL, George Quinn (interference), 10:49; Avon, Jake Uhas (roughing), 14:53.
SECOND PERIOD: 4. AL, Alex Dillon (Jordan Herrera), 11:11. Penalties — AL, Dillon (boarding), 0:25; AL, Quinn (tripping), 6:24; AL, Cachot (roughing), 9:21; AL, Tomer (cross-checking), 14:00; Avon, Pat Baeder, (roughing), 14:21.
THIRD PERIOD: 5. Avon, McDougald (unassisted), 9:32; 6. AL, Little (Cachot, Dillon), 12:20. Penalties — Avon, Novotny (hooking), 4:09; Avon, Tomlin (interference), 8:38.
Avon 2 0 1 — 3
Avon Lake 1 1 1 — 3
Shots on goal — Avon 18-22-15—56, Avon Lake 10-10-10—30. Goalies — Avon, Kory Carter (30 shots, 27 saves); AL, Ben Sherman (56 shots, 53 saves). Power-play opportunities — Avon 2 of 6, Avon Lake 1 of 4.
EC 4, Avon 2
James Baker scored an open-net goal with four seconds to play to assure EC a victory in its first Lorain County Tournament game. EC (2-7) scored the first three goals before Avon (4-3) scored twice in the third period to make it close.
Avon 0 0 2 — 2
Elyria Catholic 1 1 2 — 4
GOALS: (A) Tyler Lance 2; (EC) Collin Lester, Nate Wilkie, Seth Wechter, James Baker.
ASSISTS: (A) Eric Novakovic, Pat Baeder, Jake Uhas; (EC) Luke Williams, James Baker, Collin Lester.
SAVES: (A) Kory Carter 27; (EC) Bret Zak 18.
Amherst 11, Whitmer 1
Kevin Burgett and Dakota Dill scored four goals apiece as defending champion Amherst (9-2) beat Toledo Whitmer in its second game of the tournament. Connor Morris had four assists for the Comets.
Toledo Whitmer 0 1 0 — 1
Amherst 3 5 3 — 11
GOALS: (W) Damian Brown; (A) Kevin Burgett 4, Dakota Dill 4, John Reid 2, Michael Kuhn.
ASSISTS: (W) Devon Herzig; (A) Connor Morris 4, Jared Andolsek, Jordan Reynolds, Kevin Burgett, Caleb Gannelli, Michael Kuhn.
SAVES: (W) Tyler Cormany 41; (A) Eli Branscum 6, Max McCarty 2.