NORTH OLMSTED — Avon stayed red-hot — improving to 7-0-1 in its last eight games — with a 5-2 victory over Olmsted Falls in the second round of the Avon Holiday Tournament at North Olmsted Recreation Center.
The Bulldogs had been equally hot — winning eight straight — before the Blue Division squad fell to the Eagles.
The win put Avon (10-2-1) at 2-0 in its tournament and in position to advance to the championship game Saturday after defeating Bay 7-0 in the opening round.
Olmsted Falls is 1-1 in the tournament — opening with a 4-2 win over Lakewood — and will finish up today at 2:45 against Bay, while Avon and Lakewood will start the day at 10:45.
Like their games over the weekend against Elyria Catholic and Midview, the Eagles scored early and never looked back. Senior Eric Novakovic scored just 35 seconds into the game.
“We wanted to keep this winning streak going,” Novakovic said. “We’re getting the puck in the zone, moving it around and getting good shots on goal. It’s nice getting that first one, since it gives you a lot of momentum.”
Novakovic may have given the Eagles early offensive momentum, but it was the power-play kill unit that kept Avon’s lead intact, killing off five power-play chances for Olmsted Falls, including a pair of 5-on-3 chances.
Avon killed off a pair of Bulldogs power plays before Novakovic scored on the Eagles first power-play chance of the night. He scored from his knees in front of the net on a pass from Neal Novotny.
Novakovic finished his hat trick three minutes into the second period when he took a pass from behind the net and beat Olmsted Falls freshman goalie Zach Snyder for a 3-0 lead.
It was the second hat trick of the day for Novakovic as he scored three times for the Eagles in their win over the Rockets.
The physical play of the game continued when the Eagles’ Dominic Bowlin and Novotny were called for penalties 43 seconds apart to give Olmsted Falls a 5-on-3 chance and then a man-advantage chance.
The Bulldogs failed to capitalize and Avon scored just one second after the power play ended when Nick Stevens scored on a Joe Goetz assist for a commanding 4-0 lead.
“(Avon) put a lot of pressure on us during the power play,” Bulldogs coach Brian Thompson said. “We got out of our system and played one-on-one hockey instead of passing the puck. The power play was the difference tonight.”
The Bulldogs finally broke through Avon goalie Joe Sefchik in the third period when Jacob Norman scored twice, trying to give his team a lift going into the final game of round-robin play.
“We didn’t start out the game with the right mindset in the locker room,” Norman said. “We didn’t play our game in the beginning, but it was important to play that way in the third period.
“We had to prove that we could come out and play with them. (Avon has) a lot of good skaters and we have to be ready to go right away.”
In the early games of the tournament, Norman scored three times for Olmsted Falls in its win over Lakewood. Zach Sadowksi scored the other goal in the Bulldogs’ win.
Contact James Brady at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avon 5, Olmsted Falls 2
FIRST PERIOD: (A) Eric Novakovic (Joe Goetz), 14:25, (A) Novakovic (Neal Novotny), 3:50. Penalties: (A) Novotny (tripping), 9:01, (A) Brian Fielding (slashing), 7:47, (A) Nick Stevens (roughing), 2:02, (OF) Braden Wertman (roughing), 2:02, (A) Fielding (interference), 0:31.
SECOND PERIOD: (A) Novakovic (Shane Docherty, Christian Hieronymous),12:04, (A) Stevens (Goetz), 8:50. Penalties: (A) Dominic Bowlin (tripping), 11:34, (A) Novotney (holding), 10:51, (OF) Hunter Bradford (cross-check), 6:51, (A) Novotny (delay of game), 5:02, (OF) Devon McConkey (delay of game), 5:02.
THIRD PERIOD: (OF) Jacob Norman (Carson Bailey), 10:33, (A) Alex Guzik (Novotny, Docherty), 9:44, (OF) Norman (Zach Sadowski), 7:22. Penalties: (A) Stevens (cross-check), 8:15, (OF) Wertman (charging), 8:15, (OF) Sadowski (boarding), 4:37, (A) Guzik (interference), 3:06.
Olmsted Falls 0 0 2 — 2
Avon 2 2 1 — 5
Shots on goal: Olmsted Falls 22 (6-8-8), Avon 25 (7-10-8). Goalies: Olmsted Falls: Zach Snyder (25 shots, 20 saves); Avon: Joe Sefchik (22 shots, 20 saves). Power-play opportunities: Olmsted Falls 6-0, Avon 3-1.