NEWARK, Del. — It’s common in the hockey world to hear that a two-goal lead is sometimes the most dangerous lead in the sport.
Despite goals from Ryan Schwarz and Nathan Blumberg to give Appoquinimink a two-goal after the first period, Kennett (7-4-1) came out and took control over in the middle frame.
“(Kennett) played well in the first period, but they just didn’t couldn’t score,” said Kennett head coach Kevin O’Dowd. “They were just hitting the post or hitting the goalie right in the emblem. Sometimes, you just have that monkey on your back, but they didn’t give up.”
Kennett took advantage of a power play and Ryan Johnson scored his team’s first goal of the game, igniting a five-goal second period for the Blue Demons.
“They kept playing hard and we played our system,” O’Dowd said. “When they got the first goal (from Johnson), four goals came right after. It was really nice and that was all because we didn’t lose our cool, we didn’t take penalties and we just worked hard.”
The hard work came not from the coaching staff’s insistence, but from the players themselves.
The effort also allowed Kennett to draw some penalties – including a penalty shot for Jack Dreisbach, which resulted in a goal – while not getting whistled for a single penalty.
“It was an overall team thing,” O’Dowd said. “We have a very short roster and everybody knows their roles and everybody played their roles. Nobody tried to overcorrect and everyone played within themselves. We had no penalties the entire game, which is the first time we’ve done that this year. All-in-all, I was really happy for them.”
Coming into the game, Kennett has faced the two-goal deficit before and knew it had the ability to come back and win.
Kennett tacked on two additional goals in the third period, which capped off a hat trick for defenseman Patrick O’Dowd, another happy moment for the coach.
“(He’s) a kid who doesn’t score a lot of goals,” he said. “They were all three really nice goals. I’m very happy with the way everybody played tonight.”
The ability to not get down on themselves is a valuable asset for the Blue Demons this year as they compete in the larger ICSHL league instead of the DSHA, which features many new teams Kennett hasn’t had experience against.
The change in leagues gives Kennett the chance to play against more, sometimes tougher teams, than it has before, and it also gives the Blue Demons the opportunity to play for a spot in the Flyers Cup – something that wasn’t open to them in the DSHA.
“We were a little nervous moving up to a new league this year and didn’t know what to expect,” O’Dowd said. “We’ve played a lot of teams we’ve never seen before and I think that we have represented ourselves and our school very well. Some of the schools that we’ve played a pretty good teams and we have probably exceeded our expectations on how we’ve done this year. We hope to finish out the year strong and get a playoff spot and see what happens.”