Corvairs edge Blackhawks in OT
Jack Sykes was defiant in defeat.
The captain of the Thorold Blackhawks has no doubt in his mind the Blackhawks will bounce back after a heartbreaking 4-3 overtime loss to the Caledonia Corvairs Monday night at the Vale Centre.
The Corvairs lead the best-of-seven Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League quarter-final playoffs series 3-1 and can advance to the semifinals with a win on home ice Wednesday.
“I’m 100 per cent sure of the group in there,” Sykes said. “Tonight was a tough one but we were in Cali the other day and we took it to them in their barn.
“I know next the game is ours.”
The Blackhawks dropped the first two games of the series before rebounding with an outstanding effort in a 4-1 win Saturday in Game 3 at Caledonia to get back into the series.
Sykes is well aware a loss Wednesday and his junior career will be over.
“It hurts to think about it,” the 20-year-old Burlington native said. “You never want it to come to an end but I just believe it won’t be (the end). I don’t think when I go to get dressed next time it will be the last time putting it on for these guys.
“I think we’re taking the series to seven, and that’s all. You can’t have any doubt at all. It’s everything. You have to believe in yourself and your abilities.”
Thorold coach/general manager Scott Barnes hopes history repeats itself Wednesday.
“I just told the boys we’ve won a game in their building already and if we can get the next game in there and then get back on our home ice, you never know,” he said. “We’ve seen teams come back from down 3-1. I feel Games 2 and 4 were in our hands and we could be the team up 3-1 now.”
The Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal by Dylan Coers.
Caledonia responded with a pair of goals in the second to take a 2-1 lead before the Hawks rallied with a pair of late markers by Christiano Stogiannis and Dylan Pergentile to take a 3-2 lead into the third.
It appeared Thorold might be able to make the lead hold up until Ryan O’Donnell scored on a power play with 2:05 remaining and goaltender Marek Pavlas on the bench for the extra attacker to send the game into overtime.
Each team scored a pair of goals with the man advantage but Barnes wasn’t going to complain about the late penalty on Nathan Kelly for tripping.
“That was a penalty, he got his stick in his foot there,” Barnes said. “We were doing a good job of penalty killing and they pulled their goalie so it was six on four.”
O’Donnell then netted the winner nine minutes into overtime.
Thorold goaltender Christian Lynch was outstanding, facing 45 shots, including 18 in the second period.
“You have to give him so much credit,” Sykes said of Lynch. “He faced almost 50 shots and made some unreal saves. He held us in that game and gave us something to fight for. He really held us in there like he does every game he plays for us.”
Thorold goaltender Christian Lynch with 41 saves.
Corvairs 4 Blackhawks 3 OT
For the Thorold Blackhawks: Dylan Coers, Christiano Stogiannis, Dylan Pergentile.
For the Caledonia Corvairs: Ryan O’Donnell 2; Dominic Mufarreh, Brayden Russell.
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Thorold on Marek Pavlas (30), by Caledonia on Christian Lynch (45); Power plays: Thorold 2/3, Caledonia 2/3; Penalty minutes: Thorold 6, Caledonia 6.
Up next: Game 5 Wednesday in Caledonia. Game 6, if necessary, Friday in Port Colborne.
Dear reader. If you liked this story or one of the 4,900 other stories found on our website, please consider hitting the Support Us button on the right-hand side of our home page and making a PayPal contribution to our website. Your support would be much appreciated. If you are a business owner, please consider advertising on our site. Our rates are reasonable and we provide plenty of exposure for your business. Contact email@example.com for more information.