CALEDONIA – The Pro-fit Corvairs were certainly not themselves this past weekend, but one could certainly not blame the players, management, staff and ownership of the team for being a little distracted.
Their popular Special Vice President, 20-year-old Noah Thomas, was fighting for his life after a single car crash earlier in the week. He has been in coma and unresponsive since. The decision was made by the family to take Noah off of life support on Wednesday.
“Bully (coach Mike Bullard) and I are going to miss our younger brother,” said General Manager Brian Rizzetto. “He was such a dedicated guy to our team and the players. He loved to help the guys pack their equipment and would do anything that needed to be done. He could be a bit saucy from time to time, but there was never any doubt about his dedication to the team. We will all miss him.”
Even carrying the weight of worry, the Pro-Fit Corvairs were able to take games Friday night against the Ancaster Avalanche 5-2, and barely got past the 11-20-6 Fort Erie Meteors 1-0 Saturday night in Fort Erie.
Saturday night, Luke Sinclair’s goal scored at 3:41 of the third period was all that was needed as a clearly distracted Corvairs team gave what they could for the win.
What started as a hockey game between the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs and the Ancaster Avalanche ended up being fight night at the Haldimand Centre Friday night, but the Corvairs took the points where it counts, with a 5-2 win.
The game took on a solemn tone from the beginning as the Corvairs dedicated the night to assistant Noah. The entire gate receipts as well as a collection was taken up for the family.
On the ice, it took some time for the Corvairs to get their minds on the task at hand as they fell behind 2-1 after the first period. Caledonia’s Nathan Gomes scored first at 2:29 from Jake Brown and Todd Ratchford, but the Av’s closed the period with goals by Michael Pollice and Alex Zaccaria.
“Noah is really close to a lot of the players,” said coach Mike Bullard. “I know, in the first period on Friday night, we were just kinda standing around waiting for Noah to come in. But between periods we focused on the fact that the game was for Noah and that we had a job to do, and we came out and dominated the second and third.”
The Corvairs shook it of between periods and racked up three unanswered second period goals by Connor Bramwell (shorthanded), Connor Patton and Austin McEneny.
A high sticking double minor penalty assessed to Ancaster’s Brennan McLennan erupted into a mealy with Bramwell at 4:36 of the third period. Both were ejected from the game.
After the Av’s Pollice got two and 10 for a headcheck and Cole Nagy got two and 10 for checking from behind moments later, Nagy and Todd Ratchford tangled at 14:08 with both sent to the showers.
With the game out of reach, Ancaster’s Blake Luscombe gave into his frustration and was tagged with 2 and 10 for checking from behind with less than a minute remaining.
With 10 games remaining in the regular season, it is still mathematically possible for the Corvairs to be put out of first place, but highly unlikely.
Friday Jan. 23rd, the Corvairs are in Pelham. Saturday night, they host the Welland Canadians at the Haldimand Centre Arena. Game time is 7:30 pm.
Saturday night was another story.
“I think, in Fort Erie, we played probably the worst game of the season,” said Bullard. “After the game I told them, they were entitled to a bad game, but the upside is, we won it.”