ASTON, Pa. -- Before this weekend’s back-to-back set, the Philadelphia Little Flyers EHL team paid tribute to injured 18U PLF forward Brian Page, who is recovering from a severe injury sustained after an open-ice hit last Sunday.
Philadelphia’s home bench had two “87 Strong” banners and a blank home jersey with No. 87 hanging behind head coach Mark Catron.
A moment of silence was held and fans in attendance were asked to keep Brian, his family, friends and teammates in their thoughts and prayers.
There was only one player announced in the starting lineup for the evening: A six-foot, 160-pound forward from Magnolia, Delaware. No. 87, Brian Page.
Learn more about how you can help Brian and the Page family here.
Philadelphia Little Flyers vs. New York Apple Core
Saturday, Nov. 21
6 p.m. @ IceWorks Skating Complex
The usual suspects stuffed the scoresheet on Saturday afternoon.
Gavin Fritch, Robbie Seewagen and Tyler Marvil all scored for the Little Flyers and Kyle Patton picked up two assists in a 4-3 win over New York Apple Core at IceWorks Skating Complex.
Dante Gattone, Scott MeGraw and Connor MacDonell also earned helpers and Ryan Clear netted his third goal of the season. Newcomer Austin Melone picked up a point in his debut for PLF while playing some strong defense in front of starting netminder Jakub Kubik, who made 33 saves on 36 shots.
The Little Flyers are starting to notice a pattern. When the Gattone-Marvil-MeGraw and Fritch-Patton-Seewagen lines are consistently producing, they’re a tough team to beat.
"They help me a lot,” Gattone said of his linemates. “We're starting to find our chemistry now. We're using a lot of speed, getting pucks in, finding breakaways."
Neither team could get into a groove early. The first seven minutes of action resulted in just four combined shots on goal and the passing was sloppy for both sides.
Gattone, Marvil and MeGraw got Philadelphia going with a solid shift at the 13:00 minute mark. The trio outhustled New York and had about a minute and a half of sustained pressure in the offensive zone with Brett Turner and Malone patrolling the blue line. The five-man unit put several quality shots on target and it seemed to spark the PLF bench.
Just two minutes later, the Little Flyers opened the scoring. MacDonnell collected a loose puck at the top of the circle in his own zone and sped down ice on the breakout. After entering the Apple Core end, he fired a hard, low shot on goal and the rebound landed right on Clear’s blade for an easy tap-in.
On the next shift, MeGraw kept pressing and found himself with a breakaway opportunity but was robbed on a blocker-side attempt.
Philadelphia made it 2-0 at 3:43. Malone started the play with a bank pass off the glass to Patton on the rush. Patton curled back at the top of the circle and threw a shot on net that Fritch was able to get a piece of for his sixth tally of 2020-21.
The second period started with a flurry of chances for New York. Kubik stood tall in net, making glove and pad saves at 17:58 before covering up a five-hole rebound attempt.
Apple Core beat Kubik for the first time at 3:45 on a backdoor pass from Colin Callanan to Michael Leva.
With play at 4-on-4, Marvil helped the Little Flyers regain their two-goal lead at 8:37 after a brilliant lob pass from Gattone. Marvil faked to the backhand and cut to the right to finish the deke on his forehand.
New York didn't make things easy, however. With just 38 seconds remaining in the second, Leva fired a snapshot over Kubik's right shoulder and the final frame would start with a 3-2 score.
Marvil was whistled for interference at 16:55, sending Apple Core to the power play. Patton and Seewagen made it look like it was Philadelphia with the man advantage though. The duo connected for a shorthanded breakaway but Patton's initial shot was blocked. An untouched Seewagen hopped up in the play and buried the rebound to make it 4-2.
New York pulled goalie Jackson Bernard in the final minutes in favor of an extra attacker. The move paid off at 18:20, when Callanan found Todoroff unmarked at Kubik’s doorstep with Apple Core up on a 6-on-4.
The Little Flyers had two empty-net chances that were blocked and did not allow another shot to close out the game, 4-3.
Philadelphia Little Flyers vs. New York Apple Core
Sunday, Nov. 22
11 a.m. @ IceWorks Skating Complex
Once Philadelphia got rolling, New York never had a chance in this one.
Gattone and MeGraw each tallied four points and the Little Flyers cruised toward a 9-2 rout to complete a weekend sweep of Apple Core on Sunday at IceWorks.
Vincent Nicosia, Avery Arnold, MacDonell, Turner, Patton and Marvil all chipped in two points apiece to ignite the PLF offense.
Joseph Henson, making his EHL debut, was spectacular between the pipes. The Troy, Michagan native turned aside 30 of 32 shots in his first-ever start with the Little Flyers.
"It felt good to get the puck in the net and go to work,” Gattone said. “Not many mistakes were made this weekend, which is good. We're continuing to grow as a team. That's what we need."
Philadelphia lit the lamp first at 2:18 of the first period. Turner made a heads-up play behind the PLF net to pokecheck a New York forward and push the puck towards Marvil, who calmly made a touch pass up ice. Gattone swung in, chipped off the glass and won a foot race to give himself a clear path to the net. The 2000 birth year cut to the backhand down low and beat Jackson Bernard off the post for a 1-0 lead.
Apple Core struck back at 8:37 after a defensive breakdown in front of Henson. John Myers was credited with the goal.
The final 10 minutes of the opening stanza belonged to the Little Flyers. That was evident on Gattone's second goal of the afternoon after Clear joined the rush, outmuscled a defenseman in the corner and set up Gattone at the high circle for a quick release and 2-1 lead.
At 16:50, Jake Frankenfield fired a laser through traffic on the power play that just squeaked past Bernard to make it 3-1. Gattone and MeGraw earned assists on the PP marker.
Philadelphia capped off a tremendous effort in the first at 17:41. Arnold fought off a forechecker at center ice and sent Patton the other way. Patton entered the zone, stared down Bernard and scored on a wrister from the high slot.
New York sent out backup goalie Michael Kurdziolek to start the second period. He didn't fare much better.
The Little Flyers capitalized on another man advantage at 3:40. Patton's initial shot went off a shin pad but MeGraw recovered the puck and set up Arnold at the top of the faceoff circle. Arnold took two strides and fired a slap shot past Kurdiolek for his second goal of the season.
An unfortunate bounce led to Apple Core's final goal of the afternoon. Clement Delisle-Blais sent a cross-ice pass attempt through the slot that deflected off of a Philadelphia defenseman right to Zach Goldenberg, who had a wide-open net to make it 5-2.
The Little Flyers played mistake-free hockey the rest of the way.
At 17:38, Nicosia picked off a telegraphed breakout attempt and quickly found MacDonell for a breakaway attempt. MacDonell was looking blocker side the entire time and scored on an unstoppable snapshot to put the home team up 6-2 entering the third period.
Nicosia and MacDonell went back to work early in the final frame. Josh Wilkins wrapped the puck around the Philadelphia net to Nicosia, who sent a breakout pass that sneaked past a New York defender. MacDonell raced for the loose puck at center ice and scored on an identical snapshot for his second of the afternoon.
Turner, pinching in with PLF changing lines, knocked an Apple Core player off the puck down low and made a drop pass for a breaking MeGraw at 5:52. MeGraw's wrister made it 8-2.
The trio of Marvil, MeGraw and Gattone contributed some more magic before the final whistle. Gattone made a similar lob pass to the one he sent up ice on Saturday, this time to MeGraw. MeGraw skated in on a breakaway but hit the breaks, fooling Kurdiolek into thinking he was going to shoot. That left Marvil with an empty cage and easy tap-in backdoor.
"It's so important to come out and get the win,” Gattone said. “We need that momentum coming into the break. We've got a lot of guys hurt but once we get healthy, with that momentum, it's going to be hard to stop us."
Gattone has three goals and five assists during his current four-game point streak. ... Patton has at least one point in six straight contests (4G, 6A). ... MacDonell has four goals and two assists in six games since joining the Little Flyers. He's recorded at least one point in four consecutive outings. ... MeGraw has racked up 12 points (2G, 10A) during his six-game point streak. ... Marvil has at least one goal in three straight and has five points overall during his current four-game point streak. ... Philadelphia went 2 for 7 on the power play over the weekend and successfully killed off 8 of its 9 shorthanded situations. ... PLF has one more game before the Thanksgiving break. The Protec Jr Ducks will travel to IceWorks for an 11:30 a.m. matchup on Tuesday, Nov. 24.