Kavanaugh, Dion Key 1-0 Win
When Cushing Academy’s Shane Kavanaugh fired home a turnaround wrist shot just 24 seconds into the championship game of the Martin/Earl Large School Tournament, little did anyone know, given the firepower of the two teams involved, that his goal would be the only one of the day.
But that it was, the Penguins and goalie Mike Dion made that tally stand up, as Cushing’s 1-0 win over Avon Old Farms gave it the 2013 Boys Prep Large School title. “There was no way I thought that this would be a 1-0 game,” said Cushing coach Rob Gagnon, “not with the offensive players we and Avon have.” Even with the 1-0 score, this was not a slow, defensive game. Both teams were flying for the entire 54 minutes, and both Dion and Avon goalie Cody Doyle made some great saves.
“That third period was the best period that Mike Dion has played in his Cushing career,” Gagnon said. “He was 3-0 in championship games this season (Cushing won the Lawrence/Groton and Watkins holiday tournaments). The Avon goalie (Doyle) also played well. I thought that we had more great offensive chances than they did. We had chance after chance after chance, but you have to credit their goalie.” After a faceoff to the right of Doyle, Matt Hoover’s shot hit Kavanaugh.
The puck dropped at this skates and the junior turned and fired a low wrist shot that caught the far corner. Heading into the season, Cushing had its sights set on being an Elite Tournament participant, but the Penguins finished ninth in the rankings, thus leaving them as the top-seed in the Large School Tournament. It wasn’t quite where they wanted to be, but they will still savor the crown. “You make your bed, you have to deal with it,” Gagnon said. “We knew we kind of underperformed at times this season. We wanted to prove to the critics that we still were a good team. We wanted to prove the critics wrong.”
The win was also special for Gagnon in that it was over his alma mater, Avon Old Farms, and his former mentor, Avon coach John Gardner. “Any time, in any sport, you can play against your alma mater, and come up with a win, it is special,” Gagnon said. “It is a little more fun. This is the third time we’ve played since I have been coaching and the other two games ended in ties.”