Four unanswered goals—two from J.T. McDonald—propelled the Avon Grove Devils (9-5-1) to their second seasonal win over the Kennett Blue Demons (5-7-0) in as many meetings, as they edged away to an 8-3 victory on Monday evening (Feb. 5) at the Patriot Ice Center in Newark, Del.
Much like in their first meeting a fortnight ago, both teams struggled to generate sustained momentum for the first half of the first period. In the twelfth minute, Avon Grove’s first line were able to crash through, as Matt Miller redirected a Ryan Nichol wrist shot from the low slot past Kennett goalie Morgan Cullen to open the scoring. A minute later, Kennett’s Scott Dreisbach had a chance to tie the game with a penalty shot, but his chance was ruled unsuccessful despite the puck trickling over the goal line following contact between a falling Dreisbach and Devils netminder J.D. D’Ambrosio just outside the crease.
Avon Grove’s Sal Borleis tallied his first of the season at the 14:00 mark with a one-timer from the high slot, but Kennett’s Thomas Halsted responded with a snap shot from the right half wall on the next shift, just 24 seconds later, to close the margin to 2-1 at the first period’s conclusion.
The back-and-forth action continued early in the second, with both teams trading two goals each in the first seven minutes. After Blake Richman brought the Demons to within a goal at the 6:34 mark, the Kennett side would no longer be able to keep up with the Devils’ firepower, nor maintain momentum out of the neutral zone on a consistent basis. McDonald’s first goal of the game trickled past Cullen at 9:08, and the Avon Grove penalty kill stood tall in the 13th and 14th minutes to outlast a Brady Anderson interference minor which saw five shots registered against them.
McDonald earned his second goal of the game and eighth of the year 64 seconds in the third period, putting Avon Grove up 6-3, before Ryan Nichol’s found the five-hole for his lone goal of the night from a mid-slot snipe at 7:49. A Sean Wolk redirect of a Jimmy Winiarski chance from the left point at 13:43 iced a three-goal third period for the Devils, and also gave their power-play unit their lone goal in four chances.
Miller tallied three assists in addition to his opening goal, while McDonald, Anderson, and Nichol also accounted for a pair of helpers each. Cullen saved 38 of 46 Avon Grove shots faced, while D’Ambrosio successfully handled 15 of 18 Kennett shots.