The Winged Beavers of Avon Old Farms had a season for the ages; going 22-2-4 and winning both the Avon Christmas Classic and the Elite 8 Championship against a tough competitor in Cushing Academy who came into the game with just two losses on the season.
Two teams with high powered offenses skated to a 0-0 tie after the first period. The game was noticeably a faster pace and more physical affair than the two games prior. Avon got on the board early in the second period with 14:36 remaining when the Winged Beavers made a tic-tac-toe play from Marcus Hooking to Sam Houston who zipped a pass across the top circles for a one-timer by Won-Jun Yun who blasted it by the Cushing goalie. It was Yun’s fourth goal of the season and big one to take the early lead.
Cushing responded just a few minutes later when junior forward AJ Socco got his stick on a second-effort rebound with chaos in front of the net to tie the game. The Penguins took the momentum and carried it the rest of the period getting a lot of offensive zone pressure and a few odd-man rushes but couldn’t find the net with Avon goalie Stephen Peck making big save after big save.
The two teams that had led the way for prep all season headed into the third period with a 1-1 tie and it looked like the next goal could decided it, especially considering how well both goalies were playing.
Avon would get that next goal just 2:09 into the period on a 5v3 power play when Joe Odyniec finished off a rebound in front to take the lead. Both teams exchanged chances for much of the period; Cushing had a power play half way through the third and almost scored twice but Peck was there to take it away. In the final few minutes of the game Cushing had a lot of pressure, pulled the goalie and had some chances but weren’t able to get the tying goal and then with 33 seconds remaining Alex Pelletier iced the puck and scored into the empty net to seal the game and give legendary prep coach John Gardner his 9th NE Prep Championship.
Three Stars of the Game:
1st Star: Stephen Peck, G, Avon Old Farms
2nd Star: James Odyniec, F, Avon Old Farms
3rd Star: Ryan Philbrick, D, Cushing
Photo Credit: Dan Hickling/Hickling Images