The original “Magnificent Seven” may have been gunfighters; Midview’s version was seven skaters going up against Avon in a Blue West Division game in the Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League on Wednesday night.
The Middies, short two with injuries and a previous penalty, confounded the Eagles defensively, and Midview’s all-time leading scorer, Austin Steindl, scored five straight goals to help the new “Magnificent Seven” post a 6-2 win.
Not to be lost in the story of the seven skaters was the performance of freshman goaltender Jarred Meredith, who stopped 40-of-42 Avon shots. That’s pretty good for a kid who started playing hockey in March.
“(Jared) gave up the one easy goal, but he came back and fought the rest of the night,” Midview coach Rick Verlotti said. “It’s unheard of for kid that just started playing hockey to stop that many shots. It’s really unbelievable.”
The Middies (6-3, 2-2) got a goal from KC Kudela to open the scoring midway through the first period off a Steindl assist, but four minutes later, the Eagles took the lead with two goals in a seven-second span off the stick of Nick Novakovic.
The first came when Novakovic cleared the puck from in front of his net and it kept going right to Meredith, who was going to swipe it to the side to a teammate.
In Meredith’s words, “I really whiffed on that,” and the puck slipped right between his skates to tie the game at the 3:44 mark.
On the ensuing faceoff, the puck went right to Novakovic, who quickly unleashed a shot that gave Avon (6-6, 2-3) a 2-1 lead going to the second period.
After giving up the lead, Midview went to work in the final two periods, holding the Eagles without a goal, while Steindl scored five times.
He tied the game with a short-handed goal after Jacob Schneider took the puck away at center ice. The second came off a Brock Behler assist, as Steindl settled the puck at the blue line with his skate, kicked it forward onto his stick and then beat Avon goalie Joe Sefchik.
Behler and KC Kudela assisted on the first goal of the third period by Steindl with 12:08 left in the game.
Just over five minutes later, Steindl gave Midview plenty of breathing room, upping the score to 5-2 on assists by Kyle Kudela and Jacob Hack on a 2-on-2 rush to the net.
For good measure, Steindl scored his second short-handed goal for the final 6-2 score, when he out-skated the Avon defenders to a puck that had been dumped into the offensive end by the Eagles.
He snagged the puck at the end line, spun back to a shooting angle, and knocked the puck home for his 22nd goal of the season.
“I knew I was going to stay out there most of the time and just try to pick up the rest of the team,” Steindl said. “We had to get back to winning after dropping a couple of games. Our defense and goalie was able to block shots all night long.”
While Midview was scoring five times in the final two periods, Meredith stopped all 27 shots taken by the Eagles.
“My defense is usually there for me with a lot of blocked shots, Brad Urig may have stopped 10 by himself tonight,” Meredith said. “I’ve been working hard at this and I’m just glad we could get this win tonight.”
Eagles head coach Nick Novakovic had praise for the Middies after they were able to get the short-handed win.
“We did not play well, but I give all the credit to Midview playing with the short bench,” he said. “They really played hard all night long. I can’t say the same about all of our kids tonight. Maybe we thought we didn’t have to work so hard, but the reality is you have to work even harder and take advantage of the situation and we just didn’t do that tonight.”
Midview 6, Avon 2
FIRST PERIOD: Midview, KC Kudela (Austin Steindl) PP, 7:43; Avon, Eric Novakovic (Unassisted), 3:44; Avon, Novakovic (unassisted), 3:37. Penalties — Avon, Hayden McDougald (elbow), 13:47; Avon, Pat Baeder (cross-check), 8:16; Midview, Brock Behler (interference), 1:22.
SECOND PERIOD: Midview, Steindel (Schneider) SH, 14:34; Midview, Steindl (Behler), 8:14. Penalties — Midview, KC Kudela (holding), 7:29.
THIRD PERIOD: Midview, Steindl (Behler, Kudela), 12:08; Midview, Steindl (Kyle Kudela, Jacob Hack), 6:57; Midview, Steindl (unassisted) SH, 2:37. Penalties — Avon, Novakovic (tripping), 13:34; Midview, Behler (hooking), 3:30; Midview, Hack (cross-check), 1:56.
Midview 1 2 3 — 6
Avon 2 0 0 — 2
Shots on goal: Midview 34 (11-11-10), Avon 42 (15-10-17). Goalies: (M) Jared Meredith (42 shots, 40 saves), (A) Joe Sefchik (34 shots, 28 saves). Power-play opportunities: Midview 1-3, Avon 0-4.
Contact James Brady at email@example.com.