April 19, 2014

Elyria
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High school hockey: Avon’s Joe Sefchik shines in goal to keep game close against Midview

NORTH OLMSTED — The rivalry between Midview and Avon got a little closer Sunday afternoon, but not because one team didn’t dominate.

Midview defeated Avon 4-2 in a Greater Cleveland High School Hockey League Blue West game. The score was only as close as it was thanks to a mammoth goaltending effort by Avon’s Joe Sefchik.

“That goalie of theirs stood on his head,” Midview coach Rick Verlotti said. “He did a fantastic job all game.”

Midview (15-5, 9-2 Blue West) took 35 shots to Avon’s 12. Sefchik, a transfer from St. Edward in his first season with Avon, was especially brilliant in the opening period when he stopped 13 shots, many in spectacular fashion.

Sefchik alternates at goalie with Erik DeChant. Eagles coach Nick Novakovic says he has no rule for which one plays.

“It’s more of a gut feeling on my part,” Novakovic said. “Joe played well on Friday night (a victory over Cleveland Heights) and I thought I would roll with him again. He has a little more experience between the two.”

Midview finally cracked the net with 2:24 to play in the first when Manny Ceja put in a rebound of a Austin Steindl shot.

The Middies added a goal in the second period and two goals 1:17 apart in the final period.

“We kept the cycle going,” Midview defenseman Brad Urig said.

“We look for that one opportunity to score, and we finally found one. Austin blocked the goalie and Manny was able to get a shot past him. And as long as we keep the puck in their end, like we did, they can’t score.”

Two of Midview’s goals were on power plays.

“Our offense played great,” Verlotti said. “Austin, Manny and Brock (Behler) played fantastic. And on the defense, Jake Lyons and Brad Urig did the same.”

Urig had the job of guarding Eric Novakovic, the Eagles’ best skater and leading scorer. Novakovic was held to an assist.

“Brad did a great job blocking (Novakovic’s) shots and he kept him on the edges all game,” Verlotti said. “(Novakovic) is a great player and it’s not easy to stop him.”

Steindl made the score 2-0 on a goal with three seconds to go on a power-play in the second period. Avon (11-12, 4-7) cut the difference in half when Joe Goetz scored off a pass from Novakovic with 5:52 remaining in the second.

Steindl got another power-play goal with 10:09 left in the third and Behler pushed the lead to 4-1 on a goal with 9:26 remaining. The Eagles scored their final goal, a shorthanded one, when Alex Guzik put the puck past Midview’s Jared Meredith after gathering the loose puck in the neutral zone.

The teams play each other again, for the fourth time this season, on Friday at 5:15 p.m., in the West Shore Conference tournament at Rocky River. Midview had previously beaten Avon 5-2 and 6-2.

Midview 4, Avon 2

FIRST PERIOD: 1. M, Manny Ceja (Austin Steindl, Kyle Kudela), 12:36. Penalties — A, Eric Novakovic (holding), 9:03; M, Ceja (slashing), 9:03.

SECOND PERIOD: 2. M, Steindl (Jake Schneider), 3:33; 1. A, Joe Goetz (Novakovic), 9:08. Penalties — A, Braeden Friss (interference), 1:35; M, Jake Lyons (tripping), 4:17; A, Dominic Bowlin (roughing), 11:18; M, Kyle Kudela (roughing), 11:18; M, Jacob Hack (slashing), 13:47.

THIRD PERIOD: 3. M, Steindl (Ceja, K.C. Kudela), 4:51; 4. M, Brock Behler (Lyons), 5:34; 2. A, Alex Guzik (unassisted), 11:26. Penalties — A, Friss (tripping), 1:50; M, K.C. Kudela (interference), 2:39; A, Hayden McDougald (high-sticking), 3:31; A, Novakovic (roughing), 6:17; A, Novakovic (hooking), 10:19; A, Guzik (elbowing), 12:55.

Midview 1 1 2 — 4

Avon 0 1 1 — 2

Shots on goal: Midview 14-8-13—35, Avon 5-5-2—12. Goalies: (M) Jared Meredith (12 shots, 10 saves); (A) Joe Sefchik (35 shots, 31 saves). Power-play opportunities: Midview 2 of 6, Avon 0 of 3.

Player of the week

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Manny Ceja, Midview

  • CLASS: Junior.
  • POSITION: Forward.
  • LAST WEEK: Manny had two goals and four assists in a 13-3 win over Avon Lake and three goals and one assist in an 8-5 victory over first-place North Canton Hoover. Ceja leads Midview with 39 points (19G/20A) in 16 games played for the 13-5 Middies.
  • OTHER INTERESTS: Music production.
  • FAVORITE NHL PLAYER: Marian Hossa.
  • FUTURE PLANS: He would like to continue his hockey career in a junior league and hopefully play on a college team.
  • PARENTS: Gregory and Lynn.

Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or stephenbyrne@att.net.