COLUMBUS — Seeking vengeance after their previous 3-2 loss to the Sycamore Aviators earlier this season, the eighth-seeded Beavercreek Beavers traveled to neutral territory to battle the ninth-seeded Aves in the first round of the district tournament, Saturday at the Dispatch Ice Haus at Nationwide Arena.
After only 2:50 into the game, the Aviators (7-13) got away with an apparent no-call icing that led them to a faceoff in the Beavercreek zone, just left of ‘Creek net minder Brian Daniels.
The Aviators’ Richard Nardt made it 1-0 after a pass from teammate Jason Beaudry through traffic and Nardt’s one-timer just over the glove of Daniels. The Beavers (13-19-3) finished the period down by one heading into the first intermission.
“We played hard, but had one or two mistakes in the first period which led to the Sycamore goal,” said Beavercreek coach Sean Broderick.
When asked how the Beavers prepared for this game based on their last time playing the Aves, Broderick said that the “bounces didn’t go their way.”
Despite the Beavers finishing off their 2013-‘14 season with a loss, they battled until the final second against Sycamore, even getting multiple chances within the final minute of play coming from Troy Hoffman Sr. and Austin Coleman.
Daniels, said the Beavers “had chances to put the puck in the net, but we didn’t finish. One mistake cost us the game.”
Coach Woods of the Sycamore Aves said he “switched the lines up a bit,” from the last time they played Beavercreek. But said they “wouldn’t have won without the great goaltending of Jake Wocks,” who faced 29 shots in his shutout win.
With Troy Hoffman setting several scoring records, and the team rebounding from a winless 2012-‘13 season, Broderick said the team made giant strides this time around. According to the coach, Hoffman set the school scoring record with 53 goals. The previous record was held by assistant coach and current Dayton Demonz player Lee McClure. Hoffman also broke the school record for most goals in a game when he scored six goals in a game twice this year. He also broke the record for most hat tricks (3 goals in a game) for a season and a career, this season.
“As for the season, it can definitely be considered a success. … They won more games this year than the previous three years combined. We also won our first tournament since 2010 when we won our division at the Ehrnfelt Tournament in Strongsville on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, and we made our league tournament for the first time in three years as well,” Broderick said. “For next year, I am hoping that we will have strong numbers for the first time in years. I expect to lose 3-4 players, but we’ll hopefully pick up anywhere from 8-12 new ones. We will have to make up for the loss of Troy’s scoring, and solid defense from senior Adam Cornell, but I am excited about the prospects for next year. Our goaltending will be strong and, with the current players and new arrivals, I expect to compete well and build on this year’s successes,” he said.