CALEDONIA — It looked like another sweep in the making when the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs and the St. Catharines Falcons took the ice at the Jack Gatecliff Rink in St. Catharines Monday night.
The Corvairs took the first three games of the best-of-seven series with little trouble, winning 6-0, 4-2, and 3-0.
In the end, the hometown fans went home disappointed on Monday as the Corvairs rode a 4-0 first-period lead to a 5-2 final score, which earned Caledonia the Golden Horseshoe Conference Title.
They now await an opponent for the OHA semifinals. As of Tuesday, the Listowel Cyclones lead the Elmira Sugar Kings 2-0 in that series.
The Falcons knew that a game-three win was required to push back the Caledonia tide and worked hard to repel the Corvairs’ 21-shot period ending tied at 0-0.
It wasn’t until the 8:11 mark of the second period that the first goal was recorded, that by Adam Craievich from Joshua DeFarias and Bobby Harrison.
The Corvairs’ power play took over in the third period, taking advantage of two late-game St. Catharines penalties. DeFarias made it 2-0 at 14:03, and Matt Watson closed the scoring at 18:16 to secure the 3-0 win. It was the second shutout of the playoffs for Pierce Charleson, who has posted five straight wins so far.
Game 2 on Friday in St. Kitts was a much tighter game, but the result was the same, with the Falcons this time dropping a 4-2 decision. Kyle West put the Falcons up 1-0 at 3:55, and Andrew Somerville scored while Caledonia’s Jesse Barwell was serving time for checking from behind and a game misconduct.
The Corvairs got into the game at 16:08 with Eric Eschweller converting an Eddie Shultz and Mark Bzowey setup into a 2-1 first-period score.
Caledonia’s Harrison added a power-play goal late in the second period to make it a new game, at 2-2. The Falcons were holding off the Corvairs when the second intermission began.
The Falcons were slapped into reality at 39 seconds of the third, when Eddie Schultz scored from Jamey Lauzon and Andy Burns. Matt Watson put the lid on it at 3:42, which the Corvairs held to the end.
Game 1 of the series was played last Wednesday, March 28th at the Haldimand Centre, where the Corvairs ended the long wait for a playoff partner with a 6-0 trouncing of the Falcons.
Leading the scoring for the Corvairs was Craievich with three goals and an assist, Barwell (1G,2A), Owen Lane (3A), Harrison (1G), and Andrew Burns (1G).
In Game 3, Falcons’ rubber-stopper Owen Savory had his work cut out for him and performed well in his team’s 3-0 loss despite being outshot 55-39. Meanwhile, at the other end, Charleson was busy as well. Normally a shutout after 39 shots is a feat in itself.
The Falcons’ aggression to open Game 3 backfired on them in the first period as referees Pete Kostyk and Darryl Wolfe were having none of it and whistled down Tyler MacArthur for cross-checking and again for slashing, along with a slashing penalty to Tanner Main, handing the Corvairs two powerplay goals. There was an unassisted marker by Griffin Roubos as well as an even-strength goal by Craievich to put the Corvairs in the driver’s seat 4-0 by the end of the first stanza.
One can only assume the St. Catharines coach cracked a few knuckles during the intermission because there were no penalties by either team in the second. The Falcons notched their first goal scored at 2:52 of the period.
The Falcons took advantage of the Corvairs’ Harrison being tagged for goalie interference, scoring their second of the night to make it a 4-2 lead for Caledonia before Eschweiler put the game away.