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Avon Grove holds on to knock off CB East in Flyers Cup opener

WEST GOSHEN >> In a wildly entertaining ice hockey game that featured chances on both sides and excellent goaltending, you wouldn’t think that a goal early in the second period would hold up, but it did.
Brandon Chandler broke a tie game in the second and Justin Mackley made 27 saves to backstop the effort as fifth-seeded Avon Grove edged No. 12 Central Bucks East in the first round of the AA Flyers Cup at Ice Line on Tuesday.
The Red Devils will face the Pennsbury-Owen J. Roberts in the quarterfinals Thursday.
“Not our best game, but we played well defensively and Justin stepped it up as the game went along,” said Avon Grove coach Sean Cannon. “I thought he was a little shaky early on. Timely scoring when we needed it. It was nice to come back, but these guys are used to coming back, which may be good or not good.”
East jumped on top less than four minutes in. Stephen DiRugeris sent a centering feed that found Phil McIntyre, who backhanded the puck over Mackley’s shoulder for a 1-0 lead.
The lead lasted a little more than five minutes as Nathan Crossan took a shot that got through goalie Matt Mangiacapre and sat in the crease and a wide open Jordan Fabian poked in the rebound to square things at 1-1.
With the score still knotted up at 1-1 in the second, East got an immediate chance as Cory Kosick broke along on Mackley, who came up with a pad save.
The Red Devils broke the stalemate with 11:23 left, Chandler took a pass from the high slot, about 15 feet out and flipped a shot that with traffic in front was able to sneak through and find its way into the net.
“I got a great pass from Will (Gorman) right off the half-boards and I was wide open in the slot, I just had to let it rip. Great teamwork. Great line goal,” said Chandler. “I did not think it would be the game-winner. I thought we could bury a few more. but their goalie played great.”
The Avon Grove scoring difficulties really reared up during a 5-on-3 man advantage late in the third. The Red Devils thought they took a two-goal lead, but the goal was disallowed after it was ruled that the puck was kicked in.
“It was very frustrating,” said Cannon. “We worked on things and set them up, but didn’t run them the right way. They were trying to do the right thing, they got into each other’s way a little bit.”
CB East started to pressure the Avon Grove end, looking for the equalizer. Mackley came up with a number of big saves to stymie East. He also got help from something other than his equipment, as Kosick broke in behind the defense, but rang his shot off the crossbar.
“The team contributed a lot to my success tonight,” said Mackley. “I made a couple of nice saves, but they’re also putting the puck in the net at the other end. It was a team effort. He beat me clean and it was a nice shot, thankfully, it went off the crossbar.”
Avon Grove survived one last foray and as the team was celebrating, the fans expressed their opnion on who the star of the game was, chanting Mackley’s name as he was going off the ice.
As the old saying goes, survive and adavance, which Cannon admitted he told his team.
“That’s exactly what we said on the ice. I’m a big supporter of that and love that about this tournament,” said Cannon.

Avon Grove 2, Central Bucks East 1
Central Bucks East 1 0 0 – 1
Avon Grove 1 1 0 – 2
Central Bucks East goal: McIntyre.
Avon Grove goals: Fabian, Chandler.
Goalie saves: Mangiacapre (CBE) 38; Mackley (AG) 27.

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