Wood’s offense sparks slow-starting Garnet Valley

ASTON >> The early season hasn’t been kind to perennial Central League power Garnet Valley. The Jaguars carried just three wins into Wednesday’s nonleague contest with Sun Valley. And the club, true to form, started slowly against the Vanguards.

The breakthrough came 3 minutes, 13 seconds into the game. With the puck stuck on the back of Sun Valley goalie Matthew Dilorio’s net, Garnet’s Gannon Stuart and a host of Vanguards hacked at the cage with hopes of continuing play. Two, three seconds went by without the referee’s whistle. Finally, the puck jumped loose. Stuart threw a nifty between-the-legs pass to Thomas Schenk who set up Anthony Starzi for a tap-in.

The initial calamity of the play showed the struggle the Jags have endured through December. The pretty tic-tac-toe finish hinted at how good they can be. So it went in the 10-2 victory over Sun Valley.

There was some good, like a 51-18 advantage in shots on goal, and some bad: six penalties including a major and a misconduct.

“It’s just a matter of finding the chemistry,” said Garnet Valley coach Dave Orlando. “We have seven freshmen on the team. We need to settle in a bit.”

It was always going to be difficult taking on the two-win Vanguards. The disparity in talent between the teams drained the urgency of competition at times. The Jags scored three times in the first period, but only once after the 10-minute mark. After a five-goal second, they looked to end the game due to the mercy rule. The necessary 10-goal advantage, however, never came.

“We played down to their level a bit,” said Starzi, a senior captain who finished with two goals and an assist. “We definitely started slow.”

Much of the credit should go to Sun Valley, especially the goaltenders. Dilorio stopped 14 shots in the first period alone before yielding the net to teammate Nicholas Tkacz early in the second. All Tkacz did was save the first seven pucks that came his way.

“It’s very important,” Vanguards alternate captain Nick Malorgio said of the goaltending tandem. “We have two goalies that can play and keep us in games. That’s huge.”

Malorgio put Sun Valley on the board late in the second period. On a somewhat lackadaisical Jags’ power-play, the senior winger stole the puck from Starzi then slid a backhander underneath Lee Wheeler.

“We always just keep our heads up,” said Malorgio. “No matter how much we’re behind, we always say it’s 0-0. We never put ourselves down.”

The positivity produced another goal late. Nick Daluisio scored on a two-on-one to bring the score to 10-2. With solid

Sun Valley's Daniel Carlin fires a slap shot against Garnet Valley Wednesday night at IceWorks. Carlin and the Vanguards were no match for the Jaguars, who claimed a 10-2 win.
Sun Valley’s Daniel Carlin fires a slap shot against Garnet Valley Wednesday night at IceWorks. Carlin and the Vanguards were no match for the Jaguars, who claimed a 10-2 win.

goaltending and timely scoring, the Vanguards (2-6-2, 2-1-1 South) have reason to believe they can contend in the South Conference, a league made up of four Ches-Mont schools as well as Interboro. They were just overmatched Wednesday by a skilled group that’s still finding themselves.

“This is the most talented team I’ve had,” said Orlando. “It’s just getting them to play well together.”

Still, Garnet Valley (4-6-0, 3-5-0 Central League) got contributions from all over its lineup with freshman Matt Wood, who scored three goals and added three assists, leading the way. The results are coming. The form will follow.

“We went 3-0 over the last three games. That’s what we talked about,” said Starzi. “Every game is just getting better.”

Notes >> Wednesday’s game featured Garnet Valley’s annual “Teddy Toss,” a hockey tradition where fans throw teddy bears and other stuffed animals onto the ice after the first goal. The Jaguars will deliver the collection to A.I. duPont Children’s Hospital in Wilmington, Del.

In other nonleague action:

Owen J. Roberts 11, Interboro 1 >> The Wildcats scored the first seven goals to get past the Bucs. Interboro’s Kenny Keene spoiled OJR’s shutout bid with an unassisted goal in the second period.

In the Central Division:

Haverford High 10, Radnor 3 >> Shane Moran assisted on the first four goals as the Fords rolled. Moran scored twice as Haverford tallied five more times in the third period.

Frankie McVeigh had two goals and three assists and Mitchell Estes pitched in with two goals and two assists for Haverford. Luke Jones dished out two assists for the Raiders.

Springfield 10, Haverford 0 >> Tyler Riddle scored two of his five goals in the first period to stake the Cougars to a 4-0 lead. Kevin Brown added one goal and two assists, while Andrew Astrino and Jim Schickling chipped in with three assists each. Calin Losasco stopped 10 shots for the shutout.

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