WEST GOSHEN — Avon Grove’s Cameron Faller didn’t let the fact that he was ill with the flu stop him from backstopping his team in its first Flyers Cup tournament game in years.
The sophomore goaltender instead made 10 saves en route to a 10-0 win over 17th-seeded Council Rock North Monday night at Ice Line in the Flyers Cup AA play-in round.
“I was really bad last night, but I guess I’m better today,” Faller said. “I was sick all week, so I was expecting to get better by today.”
For the last several years, Avon Grove has played in the DSHA — a Delaware high-school hockey league — and hasn’t be eligible to be selected in the Flyers Cup tournament.
Now that the Red Devils made the move, they won their conference playoffs in stellar fashion and were selected as the 16th seed in the AA tournament.
“This entire year has been leading up to this,” said forward Austin Nichol. “We’re really glad we got in and that we got the win tonight.”
From the drop of the puck, Avon Grove controlled all facets of the game and scored in just about every way possible: even strength, on the power play and even short-handed.
Brendan Harman, Nichol and Matt Miller each scored two goals while four other players also chipped in a goal.
“The kids played real hard,” said head coach Bill Dixson. “They played disciplined and we’re ready. We stick to our game plan and we hope for the best. We tweaked a few lines and trimmed down to three power lines.”
Faller’s postseason debut has been nothing short of stellar as in Avon Grove’s three games, counting both the Flyers Cup and the South playoffs, he has allowed just a single goal on 51 shots.
He’ll face a bigger test Wednesday as Avon Grove faces the top-seeded Central Bucks South.
“I’ll just flush out this game and prepare for a tough and challenging game Wednesday,” Faller said. “(The tournament) has been fun. It’s definitely different from what we have done and I take it as a good challenge.”
Though it’s a tough draw to face the No. 1 team in the first round, the Avon Grove players feel up to the challenge.
“I think that this (win) will really help us,” Nichol said. “We’ll work off today’s game and really play well against the next team.”
West Chester Henderson 6, Garnet Valley 4
It was a closer game than Henderson head coach Scott DiRico would have liked, but his players pulled out a huge win in their first round game against 12th-seeded Garnet Valley in the Flyers Cup A tournament.
Trailing 3-1 heading into the third period, fifth-seeded Henderson’s Travis Czukoski and Tommy Aughey tied it up before the two teams swapped goals. But it was Dylan Teeter who became the hero of the night when he scored the game-winning goal with 52 seconds left in regulation.
“It was exciting,” DiRico said. “They kept battling. It was a little more nerve-wracking than we would have hoped, but it was good to get the win and now keep playing (in the tournament).”
“Everybody started to click toward the end of the year,” DiRico said. “We were right there in games. Things are coming together at the right time and I hope we can keep going.”
Downingtown West 5, Souderton 2
While Souderton took 14 penalties in the game and took some extra shots after whistles, 15th-seeded D-West instead focused on beating them on the scoreboard.
“We were outplaying them and we knew that we were the better team,” said forward Tino Digiorgio. “We didn’t want to slope down to their level. We knew that if we stuck to our game plan, we would dominate them.”
D-West carried a 4-0 lead into the third period before Souderton’s Tyler Johnson scored two quick goals in the third, but it wouldn’t be enough.
“It’s not something we do a whole lot of, so anytime we can jump out to a lead like that and we’re able to play some of the younger guys and give some other kids more chances is good for us,” said head coach Ryan Smith.
When the AA bracket was released a week ago, all eyes were immediately drawn to the possibility of an all-Downingtown match-up in the first round if D-West advanced. That will happen Wednesday.
“I texted (Downingtown East) head coach Dave Hendricks and said, ‘Alright, I’m ready for you this time,’” Smith said. “It’s always a fun and interesting game. The boys are ready. They circled it and knew it. I was hoping they weren’t looking past this one tonight and they didn’t — they took care of business. We’ll be ready to go on Wednesday.”
Other Flyers Cup action
Truman 3, Conestoga 1: Conestoga’s Cinderella season came to an end Monday night in the Flyers Cup AA play-in game against No. 14 Truman. The 19th-seeded Pioneers’ lone goal came from Nick Falcone halfway through the first period, but then it was all Truman as it scored a goal in every frame. Freshman goaltender Malcolm Roeder stopped 39 of the 42 shots he faced.