Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

Thomas leads D-West to Flyers Cup title

- By Bryan Davis bdavis@dailylocal.com @btdavis25 on Twitter

“The kid’s a superhero.”

That’s how Downingtow­n West coach Dave Schultz describe star sophomore Ava Thomas’ performanc­e in the Flyers Cup Girls final agianst Avon Grove on Wednesday at Ice Line.

Thomas went Hulk smash on the Red Devils with a memorable evening, as she scored an amazing 10 goals and three assists as the Whippets staved off Avon Grove for a 13-8 victory.

The title was the second for West in three years. They captured the crown in 2021, while West Chester Henderson won it last season.

“It’s a great accomplish­ment,” said Schultz. “These girls played their hearts out. Half this team won it two years ago and now, it’s a new group of Downingtow­n West girls to have their names on the Cup.”

Thomas scored three goals in the first period, two in the second and an amazing five in the third to punctuate the night.

“Probably at the top, number one,” Thomas said when asked to ranked the game. “I mean the intensity level was really high and the emotions were up there.”

Avon Grove, playing in its first Flyers Cup final, battled all night, tying the score twice and even taking a lead at one point.

“Nope, that’s the game right there, we couldn’t contain Ava Thomas,” said Avon Grove coach Skip Crawford. “Very proud of them. They played hard all game. They never gave up. Such a good group of kids. I feel bad they couldn’t get it done tonight. They really are a great group. They gave everything they had, it just wasn’t enough.”

West led 7-6 after two periods and extended it just 17 seconds into the third on a goal by Sarah Goodman. Avon Grove cut it to 8-7 as Abagail McChrystal scored an unassisted goal.

Then Thomas took over. She scored four straight goals over a nine-minute period as West pulled away to a 12-7 lead. Her most spectactul­ar effort of the evening was after she won a faceoff and skated end-to-end, around the defense and cut in on goalie Ella Hydutsky and went top shelf on the backhand to make it 11-7.

“I think that first goal from Alyssa (Martin) got us going and the encouragem­ent from the girls on the bench and the parents in

the stands helped me as I kept going,” said Thomas.

Skylar Campanile scored to cut it to 12-7, before Thomas put the finishing touches on her night and

allowed the bench to start the celebratio­ns as the clock wound down to offically start the Whippets’ reign.

Sophomore Lilly Schindler notched a hat trick for the Red Devils.

“She’s such a great player and she’s so smart,” Crawford said of Schindler. “She sees the ice so well. I can’t

say enough good things about her. She has a motor that never quits. She’s such a joy to coach.”

The Red Devils took their lumps early in the program’s history, but have risen in five years to be a contender, and the job now is to be able to do it year after year.

“Hopefully, this lets us build it as a program,” Crawford said. “The goal is to get back next year and win it.”

For Downingtow­n West, with Thomas coming back for two more years, more trophy celebratio­ns could definitely be in its future.

“We’re losing two seniors, Alyssa Martin and

our goalie Molly (Rosenzweig),” said Schultz. “We have a pretty good crew and it’s our trophy to defend.”

Thomas, the Bobby Clarke Award winner for the tournament MVP, the second time she’s won it, headlined the All-Tournament team along with teammates Maddison Vitali,

Martin and Rosenzweig. Campanile and Schindler from Avon Grove rounded out the squard.

Downingtow­n West 13, Avon Grove 8 Downingtow­n West 4 3 6 -- 13 Avon Grove 3 3 2 -- 8 Downingtow­n West goals: Thomas 10, Martin, Vitali, Goodman. Avon West goals: Schindler 3, Campanile 3, McChrystal, Post.

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