Corvairs win Sutherland Cup

CALEDONIA – To a man, there was great relief coupled with euphoria and exhaustion when the final buzzer rang out at the Haldimand Centre Saturday night. The Corvairs had won Game #7 by a score of 3-1 over the tough St. Catharines Falcons to take the game and the Sutherland Cup.

For coach Mike Bullard, it was a matter of destiny.

“If you believe in destiny, then destiny took centre stage,” he said about the series winner.

“Matt Quilty, our captain got hurt (with a serious eye injury) against St. Kitts,” said Bullard. “He called me after the Wednesday game and said ‘coach, I’d like to skate and see if I can play.’ His eye was ok and he got permission from his parents and his doctor to play. So he’s coming off a serious injury and he played Friday night.”

In that game, which St. Catharines won in triple overtime, Quilty just missed an open net in overtime, which would have won the game and the Cup.”

But on Saturday fate played its hand as Quilty notched the Sutherland Cup game winner from Jordan Peacock and Connor Murphy.

Cosimo Fontana, who got the 3-1 empty net goal, had his grandfather pass away at the beginning of December and his father pass away in January. He was also very good friends with a boy in major Jr. A who recently committed suicide.

“That kid has been through hell in three months,” said Bullard. “It just looked like fate for these two kids that it would end up this way.”

As exciting as Game #7 was, Bullard believes the premier game of the entire season was Game #6, played Friday night in St. Catharines.

Both teams left it all on the ice.

“I think that game in St. Catharines, Friday night, was one of the most enjoyable to watch games anyone has ever seen,” according to Bullard, a former journeyman professional player himself, who played 10 seasons in the NHL with Pittsburg, Calgary, St. Louis, Philadelphia and Toronto before heading to Europe where he played another 12 years before retiring after the 2003-2004 season.

“It was a hard fought series and, after triple-overtime Friday night, I don’t know how both teams had the energy to play Game #7,” he said.

You could not fit another body into the Haldimand Centre Arena Saturday night if you had too. In fact they had to start turning people away.

The teams skated to a 0-0 tie after the first 20 minutes with goalies Colin Furlong for Caledonia and Knick Dawe standing tall for the Falcons.

At 1:07 of the second period, Justin Abraham hauled down St. Catharines forward Aaron Taylor, who was given a penalty shot which he scored on to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead.

At 3:57, Brennan Feasey was handed a tripping call, which Jake Brown capitalized on for Caledonia to tie the game at 1-1, heading into the third.

It was at 13:05 when Quilty did his magic to record the game winner. With Dawe on the bench for the extra man, Fontana sealed the Falcons’ fate with an empty netter assisted by Ryan Blunt and Kyler Nixon.
Bullard believes that Friday night’s triple OT Game #6 may have played a role in Saturday’s game.

“It was a hard fought series and after triple-overtime Friday night, I don’t know how both teams had the energy to play Game #7,” Bullard says.

Friday’s Game #6 started out the same as Game #7 with both goalies holding all shooters at bay.

Six Nations’ own Mitch Green, an AP player with bright future, called up from the Six Nations Minor Hockey system, scored the only goal of the second period, assisted by Scott Dorian and Jeff Malott, with less than a minute left in the period.

St. Catharines’ Dillan Walker made it 1-1 on a powerplay at 10:09 and Ryan Doucett gave St Kitts the 2-1 lead at 13:11.

Jordan Peacock tied it up 2-2 and sent the game into OT, 27 second later.

There was no scoring in the first OT period and the second with Furlong and Dawe putting on a show. But at 3:03 of the third extra period, Tommy Barszcz ended the marathon with the game winner assisted by Dillan Walker and Kyle Woodhouse to force Game #7, which was played 19 hours later.

“We won every league trophy, and the goaltending that was performed by Colin Furlong throughout the playoffs was sensational,” said coach Bullard after the game. “He carried us on his shoulders.”

“We had a lot of injuries toward the end, we battled it and these kids were just unbelievable and it ended up the way it should be. It was a dream season,” he said.

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