CALEDONIA – There are three divisions in the GOJHL and all three are occupied by teams who are yet to have suffered a loss so far this very early Jr. B hockey season.
The Leamington Flyers top the Western Conference with a 4-0 record, with Stratford first in the Midwest, 3-0. Meanwhile the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs lead the Golden Horseshoe Conference 3-0, after defeating the Pelham Panthers, 7-3 Saturday night. The Corvairs outshot the Panthers 42-21 along the way.
Sean O’Brien opened the first period with a powerplay goal from Jamie Lauzon and Bobby Harrison at 11:45.
Panthers’ Jake Herrberg answered with a powerplay goal with their own at 13:53. Matt Watson gave the Corvairs a 2-1 lead and O’Brien closed the period the way it began, with his second powerplay goal at 18:16.
Pelham could not stop the growing tide against them as the Corvairs opened it up in the second with goals scored by TJ Hughes, O’Brien’s third powerplay goal, and Eddie Schults.
Plenham had some luck on the powerplay as well, scoring two in the middle period to make it 6-3 for Caledonia.
Caledonia fended off a much better played third period by the Panthers but Brandon McCorriston closed the door on several dangerous scoring chances while Caledonia’s Mark Bzowey produced the 7-3 final score at 18:56.
“McCorriston came in and has played well for us,” says Rizzetto in his typical early season, understated way. “He wasn’t as sharp the last time out but we got the win.”
O’Brien carried the ball offensively, scoring three goals and assisting on one. The Corvairs are still running players through the system as they will until the Christmas break, which is the traditional M.O. for general manager Brian Rizzetto.
“We go through 10-11 weeks and look at some of the prospects, and I’d say we had about two-thirds of the team figured out before camp opened,” says Rizz. “At this point it’s simple. The grinders need to grind and the dancers need to dance. Everybody’s got to know what their job is.”
To date, both he and coach Mike Bullard, are pleased with the way their team is growing and building its confidence. But that does not mean in anyway they are satisfied.
“I think we played our best game in our first game against Elmira,” says Rizzetto.
On that night, the defending Sutherland Cup Champion Sugar Kings were leading 3-1 after they scored two goals in 20 seconds. Caledonia came back with three unanswered goals late in the period to wrestle the win out of Elmira’s hands. The tying two, scored only 12 seconds apart.
The Corvairs hosted the Fort Erie Meteors, Tuesday night in a game that missed our deadline, however, Caledonia is the odds-on favourite to win that one.
Coming up this week, Buffalo is in Caledonia, Saturday, 23rd. The Pro-Fit Corvairs complete the home stand on Tuesday when they host the St. Catharines Falcons in Caledonia at 7:30 p.m..
O’Brien, No. 55, leads the team in points, but at this time of the year it is only a shadow of things to come as the London native enters his first season with the Corvairs. Last year he played for the St. Mary’s Lincolns where his talent was hidden on a last place team who won only two games all year in the Western Conference.
Another new Corvair this year is No. 26, Bobby Harrison who came over from Chatham in the off-season. He recorded a decent 16 goals and 25 assists with Chatham. He is a little small, but is a good skater and an even better playmaker.