CALEDONIA – In front of a large crowd at the Haldimand Centre Arena in Caledonia, the Caledonia Corvairs suffered a 4-3 overtime loss against the second place St. Catharines Falcons, Saturday night.
It may have been a precursor to the final playoff matchup as the second place Falcons and the first place Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs clashed in GOJHL Jr. B action.
Realistically, the Falcons are the only team that could overtake the Corvairs for the coveted first place finish in regular season.
After a very busy week that saw the Corvairs play 4 games in 5 days, three of them on the road, the Corvairs still hold the top spot with 80 points (39-1-2) with St. Kitts in second with 77 points (38-4-1) and less than a month remaining in the 2013-2014 regular season schedule.
After Caledonia jumped into a 3-0 lead in the first period with goals by Matt Quilty, Kyler Nixon, and Cody Brown, the Falcons took advantage of the battle worn Corvairs who began taking tell-tail “tired” penalties.
Jeff Malott was given a slashing call at 14:38 which Aaron Taylor made the Corvairs pay for with a goal at 15:45.
The Falcons had a half step on Caledonia in a fast skating and close checking game. When Ryan Blunt was beaten along the sideboards, he reached back and tripped his man who may have gone into the Caledonia zone with a full head of steam, at 6:21. It didn’t take the Falcons long to cash in. At 6:48, Brennan Feasey scored for St. Catharines’ second powerplay goal of the game.
Then, with Spencer Gourlay off for a very marginal slashing call, the Falcons’ powerplay unit notched its third consecutive extra man marker at 15:31 with Yanni Rallis doing the honours.
Caledonia caught a break late in the period when Ryan Stayner was whistled for checking from behind and the subsequent game misconduct that goes with it. But the Corvairs powerplay sputtered and the period ended in a 3-3 tie.
The teams battled back and forth for the final 20 minutes and, although they stayed out of the penalty box, the Corvairs could not muster another goal on Falcons’ Knick Dawe. Colin Furlong held his ground as well for the scoreless third period, sending the game into a five-minute overtime period. The Falcons took the extra point at 4:37 with Mark Rogers’ unassisted goal.
All in all, the Corvairs earned six of eight possible points this week and, more importantly, held the Falcons to only a single point.
The Corvairs’ busy schedule began Tuesday, January 28th, when the Corvairs shuffled off to Buffalo and handed the Royals a 10-2 shellacking before leaving.
Curtis D’Ortenzio got the nod in goal from head coach Mike Bullard to record the win, and Connor Murphy led the offence with three goals and a pair of assists.
Seven Corvairs earned multiple points including Cody Brown and Matt Quilty (1G,3A), Kyler Nixon (1G,1A), Spencer Gourlay (1G,1A), Jordan Peacock (2A) and Connor Patton (2A).
They had a much tougher game Thursday night against the Thorold Black Hawks, but pulled out a 4-3, OT win thanks to a huge third period comeback. They were down 3-0 going into the third, but rallied with two goals by Matt Quilty and a late tying goal by Brier Jonathan to send the game to OT. Spencer Gourlay only took 1:28 to earn the win.
Friday night the Pro-Fit Corvairs won a 3-2 squeaker in Niagara Falls despite outshooting the Canucks 51-27. AP goaltender Ian Sylves got the start in the Caledonia net earning his first Jr. B win.
This week’s games include a Thursday, Feb. 6th, rematch against the third place Blackhawks in Thorold at 7 p.m. before returning home Saturday Feb. 8th, to host the Port Colborne Pirates for a 7:30 start.