ASTON, Pa. -- It wasn’t a great afternoon to be a goaltender at IceWorks Skating Complex.
Or a defenseman.
This was an all-out offensive attack from both sides.
The Philadelphia Little Flyers EHL team and Team Maryland combined for 70 shots -- and probably another 30 that were either blocked, went wide or found iron -- in a wild, back-and-forth contest on Tuesday. PLF, however, couldn’t climb out of a second-period hole in the 7-4 loss.
It didn’t take long for the Little Flyers to strike first. After a scramble in front, Robbie Seewagen dug a loose puck out of the crease and fired a wrister top shelf just 21 seconds into the game. Kyle Patton and Gavin Fritch earned assists on the play.
Dante Gattone, Tyler Marvil and Scott MeGraw followed the opening goal up with a strong shift, creating three high-quality scoring chances. The trio were making crisp passes and kept working their way to the middle of the ice for open looks.
Team Maryland pressed back. A point blast from Rory Gresham off a faceoff win at 5:04 and a cross-ice connection from Connor Ball to Halen Cookston at 7:52 put Philadelphia down 2-1.
Keegan Morin nearly evened the score midway through the frame on a power play. But Team Maryland netminder Bobby McCloskey had other plans, making back-to-back sprawling saves to force a stoppage.
Philadelphia wouldn’t let up though. Gattone blocked a shot up high that sent Marvil in on a breakaway but he was dragged down and McCloskey covered up. Then Patton rung a heavy shot off the post on the next shift.
The Little Flyers had another golden opportunity at 14:36, when Patton won a defensive-zone faceoff that Seewagen pushed up ice. Seewagen was bodied off the puck but Patton made a brilliant pokecheck at center ice that sent Fritch in for a breakaway of his own. But McCloskey was there yet again to make a huge glove save to preserve Team Maryland’s lead.
Then, in a flash, PLF went down 5-1. Erik Stroze scored on a snapshot at 7:02 and Kyle Peters converted on a backdoor tap-in off a 2-on-1 from Cookston at 8:55.
Little Flyers head coach Mark Catron pulled Tyler Cassidy after he made 10 saves on 14 shots. Jakub Kubik was put right to work in relief, making his first three stops before Denys Arkhypenko roofed one over his shoulder at 15:35.
Seewagen helped to stop the bleeding late in the second period. Ryan Clear, with PLF on a man advantage, dished to Fritch in the corner and Seewagen was in the high slot to bury the rebounder for his seventh goal of 2020-21.
Team Maryland briefly regained a four-goal lead to start the third, when an uncovered Donnelly beat Kubik shortside at 2:55.
Philadelphia wouldn't lay down. On another power play, Patton won a big offensive-zone draw back to Marvil, who quickly passed down low to MeGraw. Megraw threw an attempt on target and it deflected over to Fritch, who fired a hard slap shot past McCloskey to make it 6-3.
A shorthanded goal from Avery Arnold less than two minutes later helped the Little Flyers close the gap to 6-4.
Stroze went off for tripping at 16:37 and Catron elected to pull Kubik to give PLF a 6-on-4 chance late in the third. Team Maryland managed to kill the penalty off, however, and Arkhypenko put the game out of reach with an empty-netter at 18:44 for a 7-4 final.
The Little Flyers went 2 for 8 on the power play Tuesday and were a perfect 5 for 5 on the PK. ... Fritch's three-point afternoon gives him three goals and five assists through his first five games with PLF. ... Seewagen's seven goals and 12 points are a team-high through 11 games. ... Patton's helper gives him nine points over his last five games. ... Next up, Philadelphia will host the Protect Jr Ducks at IceWorks on Friday, Nov. 13 (11:30 a.m.) and Sunday, Nov. 15 (12 p.m.).