By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 4/30/16
Defenseman Brayden Peck scored with 52.6 seconds on a half-field rush to lift visiting Avon Grove to a thrilling 6-5 win over previously-undefeated Upper Dublin tonight before a large crowd at the SPARK Complex.
The Devils, No. 6 in the Phillylacrosse.com Rankings, improved to 10-1 with their 10th straight win. The No. 3 Cards fell to 12-1.
Upper Dublin rallied from a 5-1 deficit and tied it on a goal by Michael Mullen on the EMO with 1:08 to play. But the Devils won the face-off and after a time out got the ball to Peck, who saw an opening down the middle and went right to the goal before bouncing it past Dillon Lojeski.
“I’m told every time if you have the alley to take it,” said Peck. “But if the attack were not so highly recognized I would not have the alley. They’re No. 1 in the state so this is a big win and we’re on a roll. I’m honored to score the game-winning goal.
Beau Kush had two goals and an assist and Bryce Reid added two goals while Nate Hammond won most of the face-offs and Kevin Malone made 15 saves for Avon Grove. Jake Smith added a goal and an assist.
Devils coach Eric Jackson praised Peck for the game-winner.
“They pressed out and our guys reacted,” Jackson said. “We trust all our guys to go to the goal and Brayden is a great athlete and did what he had to do.”
Upper Dublin senior standout attackman Michael Sowers had two goals, but blanketed all night by Avon Grove senior Nick Cardile.
“I think Nick’s one of the best – if not the best – defenseman in the state,” said Jackson. “He’s proven it, honestly, for years and I don’t think he gets the recognition he deserves. That was a good team and I have a feeling we’ll see them again.”
Nick Vernacchio also had two goals for the Cards, who were down 5-1 until Sowers scored late in the first half. Vernacchio made it 5-3 midway through the fourth period and Sowers cut the deficit to 5-4 with 3:02 to play.
“They’re good … really good and I’m proud of our kids the way we fought back from 5-2 in the second half,” said Upper Dublin coach David Sowers. “Their big guns – Beau and Bryce Reid – played well.. We went down by three and continued to fight; it was a great high school game.”
Coach Sowers acknowledge that his son’s battle with Cardile was a classic back-and-forth matchup. He felt his shooters got a little frustrated.
“Nicky Cardile is a great player and he and Michael have battled before in the past,” coach Sowers said. “It’s a great thing to watch – they were sliding fast to Michael in the beginning. We just didn’t shoot well. We hit five pipes in the first half and when you start hitting pipes you start trying to place it.”
The Devils now gear for a Ches-Mont League first-place showdown Tuesday at Bishop Shanahan (11-0). After that they still have games with Ches-Mont powers Henderson and West Chester East.
“I think we’re figuring ourselves out and I think we can play better,” Jackson said. “There was some sloppy stuff and we have to keep getting better.”
Avon Grove 6, Upper Dublin 5
Avon Grove 2-3-0-1 – 6
Upper Dublin 1-1-0-3- 5
Bryce Reid 2g
Beau Kush 2g, 1a
Jake Smith 1g, 1a
Brayden Peck 1g
Kevin Malone 15 saves
Michael Sowers 2g
Nick Vernacchio 2g
Michael Mullen 1g
Jack Rapine 1g
Dillon Lojeski 5 saves