The Thorold Blackhawks dropped a 5-3 decision to the Niagara Falls Canucks Thursday. PHOTO BY: COLIN DEWAR
In a season marked by overall team inconsistency, Brendan Charlton’s offence has been one of the few things the Thorold Blackhawks have been able to count on.
Charlton has been a solid and reliable contributor, leading the offence with 11 goals through 17 games.
The 19-year-old Scarborough native collected a goal and assist as the Blackhawks dropped a 5-3 decision to the Niagara Falls Canucks in a Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, Golden Horseshoe Conference game Thursday night at Thorold Arena.
The loss drops Thorold’s record to 8-10-1.
The Canucks continue to play well. They have won 12 of their last 14 to improve to 14-6 and move into second place, one point back of the Caledonia Corvairs.
Charlton, the lone remaining player left from last season, has been held scoreless in only four games this season.
“Obviously, it’s important to score some goals and get points like that,” said Charlton, who had three goals and 11 points in 20 games last year. “I’m trying to do my job and help my team. It doesn’t matter if I score or get an assist, as long as my team gets two points. That’s all that matters.”
Thorold coach Scott Barnes appreciates Charlton’s reliability.
“It’s nice to have a consistent scoring threat,” Barnes said. “As our captain it’s nice to have him leading in those departments.
“He’s been good all year long.”
Barnes said Charlton was an easy choice as captain as one of the few veterans on the team.
“We had pretty good contact throughout the summer,” Barnes said. “He was really involved in wanting to know where the team is heading and who we were getting. In training camp he was a leader and when (James) Guest wasn’t here at the start of the year, he was our only vet who played junior B before.
“He also leads in the room and is good and bringing all the guys together.”
Charlton is well aware how important good leadership can be to a young team.
“I know the leader I am and I’ll say as much as I need to in order to get the boys going,” he said. “I’m one of the older guys so I have to show them how it’s done.”
Charlton said last year’s debacle — the Hawks failed to finish the season when they were unable to ice a team due to injuries and trades — is firmly in the rearview mirror.
“I want to forget all the negativity that happened last year and just bring the positive,” he said.
The Canucks grabbed a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes on goals by Garrett Downie and Noah Boman. Each team registered nine shots on goal.
Niagara Falls made it 3-0 with an early goal in the third and appeared poised to run away with the game but the Hawks responded with a pair of goals by Charlton and Trevor Neumann to narrow the gap to 3-2.
The Canucks lost Patrick McCabe late in the period when he was ejected for a head check on Devon Thibodeau.
Hayden Broomhead rounded out the scoring in the second when he potted his third in three games for the Canucks since being picked up from the St. Catharines Falcons.
The Hawks scored early in the third to narrow the gap to 4-3 and hit a post in the dying seconds before the Canucks scored into the empty net.
Barnes was unhappy with the uneven effort.
“I liked the way we came on but I don’t like the way we started,” he said. “That’s the way it’s been going lately. We spotted them three goals early and we have to figure that out.
“We went to work which is what we didn’t do in the fist half. When we do that, we can pretty much beat anybody in the league.”
Hawk talk: Trent Sheldon and Dante Massi did not dress for the Hawks . . . Matthew Thorpe and Jacob Stos were scratched for the Canucks . . . Niagara Falls forward Owen Devine celebrated birthday No. 19 Thursday . . . In action from earlier this week, the Buffalo Regals earned their first win of the season with a 3-2 victory over the visiting Pelham Panthers while the Caledonia Corvairs doubled the Ancaster Avalanche 4-2.
BPSN Star of the Game: Thorold captain Brendan Charlton with a goal and an assist.
For the Thorold Blackhawks: Charlton (11); Trevor Neumann (6); Matt Maidens (5).
For the Niagara Falls Canucks: Hayden Broomhead (16); Noah Boman (7); Matt Baumann (6); Garrett Downie (5); Dillon Hill (2).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Thorold on Zach Moore (27), by Niagara Falls on Anthony Tremonte (22); Power plays: Thorold 1-for-3, Niagara Falls 1-for-2; Penalty minutes: Thorold 28, Niagara Falls 23.
Up next: The Blackhawks are in Ancaster Saturday. The Canucks are home to Buffalo Friday.