Newark, Del. — Two third-period goals from Mike Irey — and a few yards of forward progress after a tackle, as well! — helped the Delaware Ducks 18AA team edge away to a 6-3 win over the Quakers in the rubber match of their Delaware Valley Hockey League (DVHL) season series on Sunday afternoon (Jan. 6) at the Patriot Ice Center.
Irey, who accounted for a goal in the Ducks’ 6-1 rout of Haverford on Saturday and their 2-1 win at Hershey on Sunday morning, broke a 2-2 tie for Delaware 2:16 into the third period and proved the catalyst for a momentum shift in the Ducks’ favour, as they handed the Quakers their first regulation defeat of the season.
“We realized we were playing really well, and Irey was a man possessed today,” said coach Adam Graff. “With Ahearn out, Irey stepped up and had a couple big goals. And guys like Boots, Spanier and Deemer picking up goals, that was huge. It was a complete team effort.”
With leading scorer J.P. Ahearn out of the lineup due to an upper-body injury, a number of Ducks rose to the occasion to contribute, with bottom-six forwards accounting for two goals.
Zac Deemer turned a Trevor Lowe stretch pass into the opening goal of the contest 3:11 into the first period, beating Quakers goalie Dan McGill over his glove from 20 feet out from the right face-off circle. Three minutes later, Nick Ferraro tied the game for the Quakers with a net-front tip-in of a Nick Corrado one-timer, and Nick Castura gave the Quakers their lone lead of the game with a power-play goal 11:08 in.
Unlike in the teams’ Dec. 23 meeting, a 5-1 Quakers win, the Quakers’ lead was short-lived, as Alex Maglio crashed the net for a rebound put-back in the penultimate minute of the first.
Despite a scoreless second period, Delaware maintained solid momentum through a 14-shot frame and pressed on into the third, when Irey put the Ducks up 2:16 in. Three minutes later, third-line winger Kaden Boots turned a pad save on Deemer into the first of two power-play goals for the Ducks, with the second coming as a result of Irey — who scored his second of the game at 7:12 with a top-shelf wrist shot from above the right dot — being tackled by Geno Romolini upon gaining the Quakers’ blue line. Romolini was assessed a ten-minute misconduct in addition to a holding minor for the tackle with seven minutes remaining, and Ryan Spanier batted the rebound of a Boots chance from the mid-slot past McGill’s glove to ice the Ducks’ 6-3 decision.
“We played a whole three-period effort,” continued Graff. “I think it was our best game of the weekend against the best team we played.”
Kyle Washkalavitch, who had a hand in four of the Quakers’ five goals in the Dec. 23 meeting, was rendered silent on Sunday, limited to just one assist.
The Ducks, who were 2-for-3 on the power play, pelted McGill with 31 shots. Delaware goalie Troy Stefano saved 27 of 30 total shots faced.
The Ducks (15-3-0 DVHL) carry a three-game winning streak into Saturday’s (Jan. 12) matchup against Warwick at the Patriot Ice Center. Air time on Delaware Hockey Night Radio is 1:15 p.m., with the opening face-off scheduled for 1:35 p.m.