Maybe the regular season and first couple of rounds of playoffs were too easy, but the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs have found themselves in a very unfamiliar place. Having not lost two games in a row all season, the Corvairs are now down two games to none in the best of seven OHA Jr. B semi-finals against the Elmira Sugar Kings.
“We really got to start working,” said coach Mike Bullard heading into Game No. 3. “This time of the year there are to be no passengers and we showed up in Elmira with half a bus load.”
The series opened last Thursday at the Haldimand Centre Arena in Caledonia with a 2-1 final in favour of the Sugar Kings.
The two teams felt each other out throughout the first period having not seen each other in the regular season this year. The Kings finished second in the Midwestern Conference and the Corvairs won the Golden Horseshoe Conference.
Caledonia made the first mark on the score sheet when Jamey Lauson scored on Jonathan Reinhart at 5:07 of the second period. Cole Mayo and Trent Mallette assisted. Lauson also got to wear the goat horns when he was nailed with a two-minute boarding call and accompanying 10-minute misconduct with a little over 10 seconds remaining in the first period. The penalty carried over to the third period where Elmira took quick action on the powerplay with Klayton Hoelscher scoring at 17-seconds of third.
The Corvairs could not beat Reinhart in the rest of the way but Jacob Black found the game winner for Elmira at 14:05 and shut the door Caledonia to preserve the 2-1 win.
“We’re not used to seeing each other and there’s a bit of feeling out. But it’s just hockey,” said Quentin Maksimovich.
The series shifted to Elmira Easter Sunday but the Corvairs were handed an Easter goose egg in the Sugar Kings’ 1-0 shut out Game No. 2 win. There was no scoring in the first two periods as both goalies stood their ground. But another untimely Caledonia penalty cost them the game. Quinten Bruce scored for Elmira at 6:35 with Caledonia’s Quentin Maksinovich sitting in the penalty box for tripping for the only goal of the game.
Both Reinhart and Daniel Chenard kept the score low with some exciting, playoff goaltending, but in a series as tight as this one, every mistake can cost you.
The series continued with Game No. 3 played at the Haldimand Centre in Caledonia Tuesday, April 18 at 7:30 p.m.
League scoring ace, Caledonia’s Brandon Lindberg who finished the regular season with 109 points, will be returning to the Corvairs bench for Game No. 3, after serving a league suspension will be welcome firepower for the Corvairs in such a close series.
Game No. 4 is set for the Dan Snyder Memorial Arena in Elmira Friday, April 19, with Game No. 5 back at the Haldimand Centre, Tuesday night, April 21. Should the series continue, Game No. 6 will be in Elmira, Friday, April 21, at 2 p.m., and a possible Game No. 7 to be played in Caledonia, Sunday afternoon, at 7:30 p.m.
In the “B” series, the London Nationals and the Listowel Cyclones were even at a game apiece before Monday’s Game No. 3, April 17, in Listowel, and Wednesday’s Game No. 4 in London. The winners of each series play for the Sutherland Cup.