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EHL: Little Flyers make epic comeback against Spartans

10/05/2021, 7:45pm EDT

Cassidy shuts down defending Champion Jr. Rangers

Worcester, MA
Photo Credit: Pauls Pics

The Eastern Hockey League’s first showcase since January 2020 took place in Worcester, Massachusetts with all of the league’s EHL and Premier teams all under one roof for a four-day event. 

Game 1 Little Flyers @ Vermont Lumberjacks
Vermont 2 – Philadelphia 0
Joseph Henson (PLF) – 37 Saves

 Bus legs was the name of the game for the Little Flyers in this one.  After a five-and-a-half-hour trip from Philadelphia, the Little Flyers jumped right into action against the Vermont Lumberjacks.  The two teams traded scoring chances throughout the first half with neither able to light the lamp.  Vermont was able to break the scoreless tie 21 minutes into the game with an even strength goal.  The Lumberjacks doubled up the Little Flyers in shots in the opening half 24-12. 

Philadelphia got a lot more grade A scoring chances in the second half, outshooting the Lumberjacks 21-15 in the second half.  The Little Flyers spent the first 18 minutes of the second half trying to find the game tying goal and solve Vermont’s netminder Joshua Kotai.  Vermont added the insurance goal they were desperately looking for 18:51 into the second half.  The Little Flyers were unable to light the lamp and dropped game one by a final score of 2-1.

Game 2 Little Flyers @ Boston Junior Rangers
Philadelphia 3 – Boston 1
#10 Kyle Patton (Short Handed) Unassisted 1st period 5:29
#16 Tony Andrews - #15 Savva Smirnov - #10 Kyle Patton – Even Strength  2nd Period 0:49
#16 Tony Andrews - #9 Shane Green - #10 Kyle Patton – Even Strength 2nd period 6:34
(W) Tyler Cassidy (PLF) – 38 Saves

In game two of the showcase, the Little Flyers faced off against the EHL’s defending Champions and #1 Team in the EHL Power Rankings in the Boston Jr. Rangers.  Anytime these two teams get together it is always a battle to the final buzzer and this game was no different.  Unlike the previous game against Vermont, the Little Flyers found the back of the Jr. Rangers net early in this one.  Shorthanded five minutes into the first half, Little Flyers captain Kyle Patton aggressively caused a turnover in the Boston end of the ice and threw an off angle shot towards the Jr. Rangers net that found its way past Chris Jackson to give the Little Flyers a 1-0 lead.  Down the other end of the ice it was all about Tyler Cassidy and his defense.  Cassidy, the 2019-20 EHL Premier Goalie of the Year stopped all 17 Jr. Rangers shots he faced in the first half to maintain a 1-0 lead heading into Intermission.  The Tony Andrews show took over from there on the offensive end for Philadelphia.  Andrews, the St. Louis native, extended the Little Flyers lead to 2-0, depositing a rebound into a wide-open net.  It was Andrews who would strike again, six minutes later, this time looking more like Albert Pujols in the Home Run Derby than a hockey player.  A Kyle Patton shot that missed the net, carouseled to Shane Green at the point,  Green’s shot towards the net went high off the glass and bounced directly towards Andrews at the side of the Boston net.  Andrews batted the puck out of mid air and into the net for his second goal of the day.  The Jr. Rangers were able to get on the scoreboard at the 9:01 mark of the second half cutting the Little Flyers lead to 3-1.  That would be all that Cassidy would give the defending Champions as he went on to make 21 saves in the second half to solidify the Little Flyers 3-1 win.

Game 3
Philadelphia Little Flyers @ Seacoast Spartans
Philadelphia 5 – Seacoast 3
#19 Reily O’Connor - #10 Kyle Patton Even Strength 2nd Period 0:33
#15 Savva Smirnov - #5 Avery Arnold - #19 Reily O’Connor Even Strength 2nd Period 0:55
#21 Vincent Nicosia - #88 Caleb Cathcart - #6 Elliott Schon Even Strength 2nd Period 2:01
#48 Koby Howat - #7 TJ Avellino - #27 Matthew O’Donnell Even Strength 2nd Period 3:00
#17 Jordan Comilla - #9 Shane Green - #21 Vincent Nicosia Empty Net 2nd Period 24:02
(W) Joseph Henson – 31 Saves

It was a tale of two halves for the Little Flyers in their final game of the Worcester Showcase against the Seacoast Spartans.  The Spartans were the first team to score on the Little Flyers with the man advantage, a streak that lasted six games.  Nine minutes after taking a 1-0 lead, Seacoast doubled their lead to 2-0 with a breakdown in the Philadelphia defensive end.  After gaining the two-goal lead, Seacoast stayed aggressive, lighting the lamp one more time before halftime to take a commanding 3-0 lead into the break. 

If we know anything in Philadelphia its that hungry dogs run faster, and the Little Flyers were starving coming out of the intermission.  It took thirty-three seconds for the Little Flyers to cut into the Seacoast lead when Kyle Patton set up a wide-open Riley O’Connor for a tap in goal.  Twenty-two seconds later, the Little Flyers top line struck again, this time it was Savva Smirnov backhanding home a rebound off an Avery Arnold shot to cut the lead to one.  The Little Flyers followed the two-goal shift by their top line with relentless puck pressure when defenseman Elliott Schon passed the puck ahead to Caleb Cathcart who was joined by Vincent Nicosia on a 2-on-1.  Cathcart dished the puck across Nicosia for a one-timer that found the back of the Seacoast net to tie the game at 3-3 just 2:01 into the second half.  Following the lead of the first two shifts, it was time for TJ Avellino, Koby Howat and Tyler Hissong to get in on the scoring.  Winning a puck battle on the wall inside of the Spartans end, Avellino sent a shot towards the net that was deflected by Howat into the back of the Seacoast net, sending the Little Flyers bench into a frenzy.  The Spartans three-goal lead evaporated in three minutes and were now trailing by one.  A strong team effort defensively held the Spartans off the scoreboard for the last 25 minutes of play in front of Joseph Henson.  Jordan Comilla iced the game for the Little Flyers with an empty net goal that was assisted by Shane Green and Vincent Nicosia.    

“It was a good weekend for us as a team” said Little Flyers Head Coach Mark Catron, He continued “we got up here and played some really competition from the Northern Conference that we didn’t get to see last year.  After coming out flat in game one, I was really happy with our overall game against Boston and even though the first half of the Spartans game didn’t go as planned, this team showed their ability to not get flustered, stick to the game plan and come back to earn two points in the standings” 

The Little Flyers are back in action on home ice at IceWorks Skating Complex on Friday October 8th at 1:00 PM against the Connecticut Rough Riders. 

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