CALEDONIA – The Caledonia Corvairs are two wins away from setting an all-time Jr. B hockey record for most consecutive wins in a season.
But they have been endangered in recent games of ending the 24 game string they have put together so far this season. It hasn’t been an easy in recent games, as the Corvairs squeaked out back-to-back shootout victories this past week.
“We keep finding ways to win,” says coach Mike Bullard who always sees the cup half full. “The kids are on a roll and I never go into a game expecting to do anything but win.”
This past week, on shear guts and determination, the Corvairs toughed out two shootout wins. First a 4-3 shoot-out win over Thorold on Thursday night in Thorold, and Saturday night’s 5-4 shoot-out win against Port Colborne in Caledonia.
Saturday night, it took five shooters to finally take the win after regulation time and an extra period solved nothing.
The Pirates held a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes on a goal scored by Charlie Izaguirre at 4:41 assisted by Brock Ackerman.
Port Colborne kept the heat on in the second period and was rewarded with a goal at 6:09 with Dylan Burdick connecting from Cody Levasseur and Spencer Fox.
The Corvairs came to life at 17:24 and popped in three goals in the final 3 minutes of the second period to wash away the 2-0 Pirates’ advantage and take the lead, 3-2 Jeffrey Marlott got the comeback charge started with assists to Ryan Blunt and Cody Brown.
Jordan Peacock and Matt Quilty caught the Pirates off balance scoring twice in the final minute of the period to take a 3-2 lead into the second intermission. Cody Brown assisted on both along with Murphy and Malott.
Spencer Gourlay added a two-goal cushion at 5:57 of the third period, but the Pirates rallied, taking advantage of Caledonia being two men short, thanks to a goalie interference call against Peacock and a simultaneous bench penalty added on after referees Geoff Lawson Mike Wortel heard enough complaining about it from the Corvairs’ bench.
Izaguirre scored his second of the game on the ensuing powerplay and James Mense-Detrich scored at 13:15with Marlott serving time for tripping.
Caledonia was not able to beat Mitchell Knight the rest of the period, while Colin Furlong held his ground for Caledonia.
Although Caledonia outplayed Port Colborne in the OT period that followed, outshooting them 7-1, there was still no winner making a shootout necessary.
Port Colborne shot first, but Furlong won the one-on-one. Connor Murphy’s first shot went in to give the Corvairs the edge. Izaguirre was denied in the Pirates second chance while Knight beat Cody Brown. That left it all up to Cody Levasseur and the Pirates last chance to stay alive. Furlong stoned him and the Corvairs bounded from the bench to congratulate their goalie for the 4-3 win, keeping the unbeaten string intact.
Thursday night produced similar excitement in Thorold.
Connor Murphy for Caledonia and Thorold’s Matt Pizzo traded goals in the first period. It was a very closely played second period which produced only one goal, that by Thorold Blackhawks’ Owen Sobchak on a powerplay at 17:24 with Todd Ratchford off for holding.
Roger Sherwood made it 4-2 at 8:45 and it began to look like the Corvairs perfect ride would end, down by two goals and only a half period left to play. But at 12:10, Matt Quilty scored from Peacock and Cody Brown, giving the Corvairs the spark they needed. Brown then evened the game at 13:29.
The stage was set for a Caledonia comeback win at 13:34 when Thorold’s Chris Goulet took a double minor for spearing.
The potent Corvair powerplay was stymied by the Pirates who survived unscathed, but the Pirates offence lost four minutes of the last half of the final period ensuring that Caledonia would not score.
The teams went into the OT period tied at 3-3. Each team recorded four shots on goal but no game winner.
In the shootout, each goalie faced five shooters and stood solid through eight shots until Spencer Gourlay beat Brendan Polasek forcing Kevin Lavoie to score on Furlong or give up the win and the extra point.
Furlong stood solid against him and the Corvairs narrowly escaped suffering their first loss of the season.
This coming Saturday night, Nov. 30, the 12-8-3 Welland Canadians will get the chance to play the part of the giant killer when they pull into Caledonia for a 7:30 start in what could be a historic game.