The 2017-2018 Shoremen hockey team added to their legacy Sunday afternoon by becoming the first team in Avon Lake High School history to win a Baron Cup. Avon Lake took on GCHSHL North Division rival Normandy High School for the third time this season. In beating the Invaders 8-1, Avon Lake swept the season series and finished with an unblemished record (13-0) in league regular season and playoff action.
All 20 Avon Lake players contributed to the victory by working hard and playing a smart, disciplined game from start to finish. In fact, the start was just what the team would have scripted by scoring just 54 seconds into the game. The senior tandem of defenseman Connor Koncelik and center Jared Aslaksen sparked the team when Aslaksen scored on a breakaway after taking a great pass from Koncelik. About 5 minutes later the underclassmen showed that the moment was not too big for them when freshman Murphy Mohar battled in front and buried a rebound to give the Shoremen a 2-0 lead. It was Mohar’s 15th goal of the season and held up to be the game-winning-goal. Sophomore Tommy Kacmarcik registered his 23rd assist of the season on the play, eclipsing the 22 that he had in his freshman season. Koncelik then took matters into his own hand by scoring four straight goals. All the goals demonstrated some combination of hard work, determination, strong skating and a skilled scoring touch. Sophomore Nick Ospelt played a physical game all afternoon and was rewarded with an assist on Koncelik’s first goal. Junior assistant captain Tim Lubertozzi also collected his 22nd assist of the season on the play. After Normandy scored their only goal of the game, Koncelik converted his 4th goal on an amazing solo effort. He also added 3 assists during the game. He leads the team in both categories with 37 goals and 32 assists for 69 total points in just 26 games. Aslaksen scored his 30th goal of the season (from Koncelik and Lubertozzi) to give Avon Lake a 7-1 lead. It was Aslaksen’s 140th goal of his career, shattering the school record for goals that broke earlier this year. Ospelt iced the game with about 3 minutes left in the game when he fired a nasty wrist shot past the Normandy goalie for his 12th goal of the season. Koncelik and Aslaksen were credited with assists. The team has now scored a school record 193 goals and only given up 74 (+ 119) on the season. Senior captain Patrick Graney did not register a point on the afternoon, but his leadership and work ethic was infectious and contributed mightily to the total team effort and victory.
Senior goalie Cameron Stepka, who was snubbed for GCHSHL all-league on honors, had something to prove and did exactly that. She turned aside 21 of 22 shots and was particularly strong when the game was close. She finished 11-0 in league games (including 2 playoff victories) and has a goals a goals against average under 1.3 and a save percentage over .933. Overall she is 17-3 on the season. She was supported throughout the game by the six-man defensive unit of Koncelik, his partner Colin Reynolds, Joey Kleinhenz, Hunter Hall, Devin Elliott and freshman Isaac Young.
Earlier in the day the GCHSHL All-League teams were announced, with Koncelik and Aslaksen making the first team, and Graney being selected to the third team.
Avon Lake extended their winning streak to 8 games and added to their school record by recording their 25th victory of the season. The team is now 25-6 overall as they enter state tournament play. It should be a great game when Avon Lake takes on Amherst High School; Sunday winners of the Baron Cup lll and Baron Cup ll respectively. The puck drops at 8:00pm on Tuesday February 13th at Brooklyn’s Coyne Recreation Center.