By Ryan Kaczmarski
The Westlake Demons Hockey Club is only in its second year of existence, but you would never know it by the product it puts on the ice. The Demons improved their record to 8-0 by shutting out the previously unbeaten Avon Eagles 2-0 Saturday night at the North Olmsted Recreation Center.
Both the Demons and Eagles are playing in their second season and the programs share more that just their age.
“We’re kind of sister programs,” said Westlake head coach John Duke. “We’re both (in our) second year and we practice on Monday nights together, so we’re familiar with them and they’re familiar with us.
“We’ve had some good games with them over the last couple of years,” he added. “They won one last year and we tied one last year and now we won one, so the second one this season will be the grudge match.”
Westlake scored the first goal of the game on a shot by freshman defenseman Nathan Greenberg (assist by junior forward Alex Miller) with 11:42 left in the first period.
“That (goal) set us apart (from Avon) a little bit,” Duke said. “We just maintained it through the game, added one in the second and we took it to them in the third.”
Senior forward James Jenkins netted the second goal for the Demons with 8:09 left in the second period (assisted by sophomore forward Rudy Keppler and sophomore defenseman Adam Sandor) to cap all scoring in the game.
Senior goaltender Matt Russell tallied 23 saves for his eighth shutout of the young season.
“Having an experienced goalkeeper back there gives the team the confidence to go out there and execute the game plan and know not to be afraid of every mistake,” Duke said.
Duke has so much confidence in Russell’s abilities, he put no other goalkeeper on the Westlake roster.
“Right now, we just have the one,” Duke said. “Hopefully as we grow, the program will roster two (goalies).
“There was a glove save from a shot at the top of the circle where he was partially screened on and just got it out there,” he added. “That was a nice save.”
The loss was the first of the year for Avon, which out-shot the Demons in the first two periods of the game, but could not get one into the net.
“It was a good game all the way around,” said Avon head coach Nick Novakovic. “They had a couple chances and buried them, while we had plenty of chances and didn’t bury ours and that’s the difference in the game.
“You get a two-goal game like that and anything can happen,” he added. “We were trying to get it back to one (goal) there in the third period, but it didn’t happen for us. I thought the kids played really, really well.”
Avon senior goalkeeper Kory Carter had 19 saves for the Eagles in the loss.
The Demons will be participating in the Bay hockey tournament this weekend at the Winterhurst ice rink.