Corvairs eliminate Falcons in Game 7
The stage was set for the St. Catharines Falcons.
Home ice advantage, a rink packed to the brim with enthusiastic fans for a winner take all Game 7 showdown, not to mention the momentum from a huge win in Game 6.
But the Caledonia Corvairs had other ideas.
The Corvairs rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to defeat the Falcons 3-2 to take the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, best-of-seven semifinal playoff series 4-3 before 1,491 fans crammed into the Seymour-Hannah Sports and Entertainment Complex.
The Corvairs, who managed three wins in St. Catharines in the series, advance to the Golden Horseshoe finals versus the Hamilton Kilty B’s. Game 1 is slated for Thursday in Hamilton.
Falcons coach Tyler Bielby emerged from an extended post-game meeting and said his final speech of the season had more to do with relationships built over the year than the final outcome.
“Love,” he said when asked what his address consisted of. “Lots of tears. It’s a top notch dressing room of guys. You can’t do anything about the result. What’s done is done. Now all you can do is when you say you love them, they know you meant it.
“They’ll pick their heads up. A lot of those 20-year-olds will do great things in life.”
Following the final buzzer, the Falcons slowly made their way off the ice. Several of the graduating players — captain Jonah Boria, Nate Robertson, Kyle Glenney, Cam Knight, Nate Shirton — were the last to leave ice after which they were greeted with hugs from friends and family.
Boria’s final act as captain was to address the team.
“That I love them, that I’ll never forget them. They’re family,” he said when asked what was said.
Boria, who has committed to play at Brock next season, was effusive in his praise of the organization.
“The organization, from top to bottom, from people who aren’t in the front lines to the people who are on the front lines, to the guys strapping on the skates, it’s everything,” he said. “I wouldn’t change a thing.
“I’ll miss everything — the little things, the big things, the practices, the games, Just everything. You can’t replace what’s in there.”
The Falcons, coming off a huge 3-0 win in Game 6 Saturday, scored twice just three minutes into the game.
The Corvairs got one back at the end of the first period, then scored twice in a span of 1:17 in the second to take a 3-2 lead into the third.
The Falcons managed just seven shots in the third period.
“We just didn’t play a full 60. We had it, it was right there, and we let it slip,” Boria said.
Bielby offered a couple of other explanations.
“It’s a long season. I won’t go over it all but that dressing room is not as healthy as it was halfway through the year. Everybody is banged up this time of year,” he said. “Our team is dealing with guys who are big parts of our lineup who aren’t even close to 100 per cent.”
He also tipped his cap to the Corvairs.
“Give credit to the team that just won four of the seven games. They won the series and at the end of the day they found a way to beat a better team,” he said.
The Falcons placed first overall in the GOJHL regular season following their Sutherland Cup championship last year, but never quite hit their stride in the post-season.
“We went 17-3 last year and we really didn’t go through that but you can’t take it (winning) for granted,” Bielby said. “Some guys in the NHL go a whole career and never make the playoffs, never mind win a round of five rounds.
“We just have to keep our heads up. There are a lot of guys who have a lot of hockey left to play and there are other guys I just told to make sure you give back because the game deserves you even if you can’t play competitively anymore.”
Falcon facts: Josh Singh, Mitch Dmytrow, Colton Chipman and Michael Colavecchia did not dress for the Falcons . . . Cam Kay, Clark Dunford and Zach Ladd were scratched for the Corvairs.
Corvairs 3 Falcons 2
Falcons forward Nate Robertson.
St. Catharines Falcons: Nathan Robertson (3); Cam Lowe (2).
Caledonia Corvairs: Dominic Mufarreh (7); Dylan Wardell (2); William Whelton (1).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By St. Catharines on Keegan Jackson (24), by Caledonia on Aiden Berry (30); Power plays: St. Catharines 0/3, Caledonia 1/3; Penalty minutes: St. Catharines 6, Caledonia 6.
On deck: Game 1 finals: Caledonia at Hamilton, Thursday, 7 p.m.
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