Coffin slams lid on Junior Canadians
The St. Catharines Falcons appear set in net with Blair Coffin.
The 19-year-old Dunnville native joined the Falcons this season after splitting last year between the Sarnia Sting of the Ontario Hockey League and the Pickering Panthers of the Ontario Junior Hockey League.
Coffin earned a win in his first game between the pipes for the Falcons in the season-opener at the GOJHL Showcase Tournament, but has been sidelined since with a hip injury suffered in that game.
Coffin retuned to the net Friday and turned back 19 shots for the shutout as the Falcons blanked the Welland Junior Canadians 3-0 in a Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, Golden Horseshoe Conference game Jack Gatecliff Arena.
It was the first home win for the Falcons this season.
“It felt really good to come back after that injury and set the tone right away like that,” Coffin said. “It was nice to show the boys I was happy to be back and excited for the year.”
Coffin took the early setback in stride.
“It’s definitely frustrating but you can’t do anything about injuries,” said Coffin, who began his junior career in Welland. “They’re going to happen to everyone but fortunately mine was a little smaller so I didn’t have to stay out too long and I could hop back on board.”
Coffin hooked up with the Falcons through word of mouth.
“Honestly, I had a lot of friends who played here and they loved it,” he said.
Falcons coach Tyler Bielby loves Coffin’s ability and approach.
“He’s just a calming influence,” Bielby said. “He’s a big body who takes away angles and does a good job of stopping the puck behind our net and allowing our defence to come out of our zone.
“To get our guy back was a good feeling and for him to put a goose egg up is what it’s all about.”
St. Catharines dominated territorially and outshot Welland 23-7 in a scoreless opening period.
The Falcons continued to control the tempo in the second and broke through with a pair of goals less than two minutes apart when Jacob Romano and Michael Santini each scored their first of the season. St. Catharines held a 16-2 edge in shots in the period.
Former Junior Canadian Noah Blakley rounded out the scoring in the third.
Bielby was thrilled how the Falcons responded following a tough loss Tuesday versus Niagara Falls.
“I think we were consistent for three periods,” Bielby said. “We came off that loss Tuesday and we had a practice the next day and I’ve never seen guys compete in practice the way they did Wednesday.
“If we compete like that after a loss, we’ll be just fine if we come back and answer the way we did tonight.”
The Junior Canadians fell to 1-5-1 and have scored just 16 goals in seven games.
“We weren’t prepared to compete and match their compete level in the second period,” Welland coach Chris Lukey said. “We just didn’t execute at all. We came out very flat.”
In one other game Friday, the Niagara Falls Canucks edged the visiting Buffalo Regals 4-3 at the Gale Centre.
Andrew Bruno had two goals for the Canucks while Thomas Lenart and Jake Adams added singles.
Anthony Tremonte made 29 saves for the win.
Michael Barker, Eli Rivers and Nolan Slachetka replied for the Regals.
Falcons 3 Junior Canadians 0
BPSN Star of the Game: St. Catharines forward Noah Blakely with a goal and an assist.
St. Catharines Falcons: Blakely (1); Jacob Romano (1); Michael Santini (1).
Welland Junior Canadians: No scoring.
Game stats: Shots on goal: By St. Catharines on Kevin Linker (51), by Welland on Blair Coffin (19); Power plays: St. Catharines 0-for-2, Welland 0-for-2; Penalty minutes: St. Catharines 6, Welland 9.
Up next: At Pelham Sunday at 2:30 p.m., at Thorold next Thursday at 7:07 p.m.
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