MANCHESTER, N.H. — The fast-paced final of the NEPSAC Stuart/Corkery Elite 8 Tournament was a fitting end to the prep school hockey season.
Avon Old Farms defeated Cushing, 3-1, in front of a packed house at Sullivan Arena on the campus of Saint Anselm College. It was a terrific showcase of the high-level hockey being played by the top teams in prep hockey. In addition to the loud and enthusiastic partisans on each side, there were dozens of NHL scouts and college coaches in attendance.
The Winged Beavers’ vaunted first line was the catalyst for most of the regular season, but it is fair to say John Gardner’s team captured the title thanks to a total team effort. All three defensive pairs did a good job in the final of getting pucks up ice quickly and evading the forecheck pressure from Cushing. The fourth line got in on the action on AOF’s first goal Sunday and scored earlier in the postseason. In one game, all four lines contributed offensively. Senior goaltender Stephen Peck allowed just four goals in three postseason games.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Check out the game recap and takeaways from Avon's win over Cushing
As he has much of the season, Avon Old Farms left wing Joe Connor (Amherst, N.H.) made a key play when it counted most. He had the secondary assist on the game-winning power play goal in the third period. For that, and how he performed throughout the postseason, the Northeastern commit earned MVP honors of the NEPSAC Elite 8 Tournament.
Below is a look at the NEPSAC Elite 8 All-Tournament Team, as selected by New England Hockey Journal’s Jeff Cox: