Falcons and Corvairs locked in tight battle

CALEDONIA – The battle between the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs and the St. Catharines Falcons may well be the best series of the year, as many predicted it would be. The Falcons and the Corvairs have been fighting for GOJHL supremacy all season and now the number one and number two seed clubs go nose to nose in the Western Conference title in their quest for the Sutherland Cup.

The series began with a 5-2 win for the Corvairs played last Tuesday, March 25th at the Haldimand Arena. Game #2 was played in St. Kitts and Caledonia went ahead 2 games to zero with a 2-1 win.

But it was a different story Saturday night in Caledonia when the desperate Falcons pull it all together to take home their first win of the best of seven, with a final score of 4-2.

All three games featured the best of both teams in the push-pull clash of the titans. Even Game #1, which the Corvairs dominated, had signs of the things to come.

Caledonia’s Spencer Gourlay scored the only goal of the first period assisted by Todd Ratchford and Jordan Peacock, at 13:55.

Connor Patton connected on a powerplay at 8:50 of the second period from Gourlay and Peacock which Brier Jonathan followed at 10:07 to take a 3-0 lead.

Tommy Barszcz broke the shutout with the Falcons’ first powerplay goal of the evening at 17:55, when the Corvairs ran into penalty problems.

Matt Quilty closed the second period scoring from Connor Murphy and Cody Brown at 19:21 to give the Corvairs a 4-1 cushion heading into the final 20 minutes. St. Catharines closed the gap to 4-2 with a powerplay goal scored by Yanni Rallis, but Quilty kept the game in the bag for the Corvairs with the 5-2 goal scored at 16:37. Kyler Nixon and Connor Murphy assisted.

The St. Catharines powerplay was working well, scoring twice on five opportunities.

The Falcons defense tightened up considerably, Friday at the Jack Gatecliff Rink with one goal scored each period. Jordan Peacock cashed in on a powerplay at 11:04 of the first period from Nixon.

Kyle Woodhouse tied the score at 1-1 with 44 seconds remaining, setting up for the all-important third period.

The play went end to end but both Colin Furlong in the Corvairs net and Knick Dawe for St. Catharines stood strong and their respective defenses kept the shots mainly low percentage, outside or from bad angles.

Connor Patton muscled the winner past Dawe at 15:17 from Nixon and Gourlay, giving the Corvairs the 2-0 lead in the series at that point, but Caledonia dodged the bullet thanks to great goaltending and penalty killing as the Corvairs were assessed 16 minutes in penalties compared to only six by St. Catherines.

The Falcons knew they could not afford letting the Corvairs take a 3-0 series lead and pulled out all the stops and got the battle back, Saturday night in Caledonia.

Mark Rogers got the game started at 1:36 of the first period but Jake Brown neutralized that advantage at 10:13 from Peacock and Gourlay.

Yanni Rallis handed the lead back to the Falcons at 5:32 of the second period which Kyler Nixon answered on a powerplay fom Cody Brown and Ryan Blunt at 13:35.

With 20 seconds remaining in the period, Rodgers scored his second of the game to produce a 3-2 St. Catharines lead.

Ryan Doucette played the hero in the third period by providing the Falcons with some breathing room as they closed off the zone and played the clock down the rest of the way to hang on for the 4-2 win.

Jonathon D’ Ilario earned the win in the Falcons net. Furlong, who has gone the distance so far this post season, took the loss.

The series heads back to St. Catharines Tuesday for Game #4 before returning to the Haldimand Centre Arena Wednesday night, April 2nd, at 7:30 for Game #5. If a Game #6 is necessary, it will be played at the Jack Gateciff Rink, at 7:30. Game #7 should there be a Game #7 it will be at the Haldimand Centre Arena Saturday April 5th at 7:30.

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