Falcon honours former coach with goal
St. Catharines Falcons forward Kyle Glenney was playing hockey with a heavy heart this week.
The 19-year-old Pelham resident has been mourning the loss of one of his former coaches, Bill MacDonald.
MacDonald started coaching in the 1990s and was on the coaching staff of countless lacrosse and hockey teams. The general manager of the Dunnville Mudcats worked hard promoting the game and reviving hometown hockey.
“He had a long cancer battle and I just want to give a shout out to coach Bill,” said Glenney, after scoring a goal to help the Falcons pound the visiting Pelham Panthers 9-1 in Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, Golden Horseshoe Conference action Friday night at the Jack Gatecliff Arena.
“Anybody who played for him said he was the nicest guy. He brought everybody up and made everyone want to be a hockey player,” Glenney said. “Today was a really important game for me. He was a great influence and he was always the guy who cheered everybody up when they were down.”
When Glenney scored his goal, he thought of MacDonald.
“It was really great to get a goal for him.”
The 2021-22 season has been a breakthrough one for Glenney. The six-foot, 190 pounder had one goal and two assists in 21 previous junior B games as an affiliated player with St. Catharines and Pelham but this year he is tied for the Falcons’s team lead with 16.
“I am putting more pucks on net and I am starting to hit the net a little bit more,” he said. “Our power play has been really good and I have got a lot of goals through that. I worked hard in practice and everyone push everybody to get better.”
Falcons head coach Tyler Bielby says there is no secret to Glenney’s scoring prowess this season.
“It is technically his rookie season if you look at it. His shot is something special and if he works to get in the right spots, then he is going to have success.”
The second-year kinesiology student at Brock has been a streaky scorer all season with five goals in six games, six goals in five games and seven- and six-game goal-less droughts. His goal against Pelham ended a six-game cold spell.
“I have always been like that. I go through phases where I get a lot of points and then cool down,” he said. “For the rest of the season and the playoffs, I am going to work on my consistency.”
Bielby feels the former Niagara North Star and Southern Tier Admiral could be more consistent if he kept his feet moving.
“I find that he has success when he is working to get into those spots and seams to get his shot off. When he is watching the puck, that is when he seems to struggle.”
Glenney has lots of attributes to be successful.
“He has a lot of man strength out there and when he decides he wants to take over a shift and play physical below the goal line, he does a good job being able to doing that,” Bielby said. “I thought he scored a great power play goal (tonight) and not too many shots in our league look like that one.”
Glenney also brings plenty of intangibles to the rink.
“He’s a great leader on the bench,” Bielby said. “He doesn’t wear a letter but he is always very vocal.”
Glenney relishes that role.
“I have been here for a long time, I have been around everybody and I think I am a good voice on the bench. I have good respect for all my teammates and everybody respects me back.”
The Falcons were impressive the entire game, playing the entire 60 minutes and not giving the Panthers much of anything.
“We are still harping on them to play good defensive hockey and take pride in that. I think we kept things in front of us and when Josh (Johnson) was tested, he made the save for us,” Bielby said.
With a busy slate of games coming up, the Falcons utilized his entire lineup.
“Tonight we used four lines and we just keep rolling and rolling them. The result of that was the five goals (for the Falcons) in the third period,” he said. “If you can use your bench that much, it just wears team down, wears the goalie down and you start getting weaker goals.”
Bielby wants his team to continue to compete hard as the playoffs approach.
“We want fire, passion and the guys wearing their hearts on their sleeve. We want them to be good teammates coming together and we will worry about the Xs and Os as coaches to make sure they are prepared for that,” he said. “If they come together like they have been doing all season, come playoff time we will be ready to do so damage.”
St. Catharines defenceman Cal Reesor with four assists.
Falcons 9 Panthers 1
St. Catharines Falcons: Blake Yetman (13, 14); Kyle Glenney (16); Mason Howard (7); Logan O’Flannagan (7, 8); Nicholas Rubino (16); Joe Collasurdo (4); Ollie Desroches (4).
Pelham Panthers: Cody Miskolczi (10).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By St. Catharines on Brayden Kelso 42; by Pelham on Josh Johnson 25. Power plays; St. Catharines 2-3, Pelham 0-2. Penalty minutes: St. Catharines 8, Pelham 28.
Up next: St. Catharines hosts Niagara Falls Monday at 7 p.m. and Pelham is at Fort Erie Saturday at 7:15 p.m.