Falcons bring home second Sutherland Cup
From Day 1 of training camp last fall, the St. Catharines Falcons made it known they were in it to win it. It was Sutherland Cup or bust.
St. Catharines general manager Frank Girhiny assembled a cast with the goal of an Ontario junior B title in mind as the organization hoped to usher out Jack Gatecliff Arena with one final championship.
The Falcons did exactly that Sunday in Chatham, putting an exclamation point on a superb season with an 8-2 victory over the Maroons to sweep the best-of-three final 2-0 and bring home their second Sutherland Cup.
The Falcons, who also won in 2012, join the Niagara Falls Canucks (96, 98) as the only two Golden Horseshoe teams to win multiple championships. The Thorold Blackhawks won a title in 2005.
The Falcons won the final game in convincing fashion, dominating the talented, but younger Maroons from start to finish.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, a handful of Falcons who were not dressed quickly put on their uniforms and joined their teammates on the ice for a long and emotional celebration.
“I’m going to miss the group for the rest of my life, I already know that,” head coach Tyler Bielby said. “It was such a special group. They deserve every moment of this. They’re the ones who put the skates on, they’re the ones who earned it.
“I’m so happy for these guys.”
A few feet away, Girhiny, who also built the 2012 team and was the GM in Thorold in 2005 as well, soaked it all in.
“I’m so proud,” Girhiny said. “Just the way they played the game. They played the right way and I’m just so proud of how they finished it off.”
Following a few minutes of hysteria and the traditional handshake line with the Maroons, St. Catharines captain Joe Colasurdo was called to centre ice to accept the prized trophy.
“This is unreal. I’ve been waiting for this for four years,” Colasurdo said. “My first year we went to the league finals and lost and ever since I knew I had to help find a way to get back here with this team.”
Colasurdo said commitment was the key.
“We practised sometimes Saturday’s at 11 a.m., Sunday’s at 10 a.m. We knew no one else was doing that and one day it was going to pay off. This is what happens when you do that.”
Asked how the Falcons were going to celebrate, Colasurdo was at a loss for words.
“I don’t even know! We’re going to try our best though!”
Former Niagara IceDog Mason Howard and Nicolas Rubino each paced the Falcons with three goals in the final.
Howard called his shot too, telling forward Blake Yetman on the team bus he was going to score a hat-trick.
“I left the OHL to come to junior B with one goal in mind and we just did it,” Howard said. “We had a great team, great coaches. We had so much character on our team. I’ve never had a better group of teammates in my life.
“It will be a memory I’ll never forget.”
Falcons defenceman Jonah Boria was named Sutherland Cup most valuable player, but wasn’t the least bit interested in individual awards.
“I don’t care about the MVP,” he said. “All I wanted was that silver thing (cup) and we got it. I wanted a white hat, I wanted a ring. I wanted it all and we got it now.”
The Falcons will have one more official function at Jack Gatecliff Arena later this week when they assemble for a Sutherland Cup team photo and meet with some alumni for a game of shinny.
It’s hard to think of a better or more fitting way to close down the iconic arena.
Falcons 8 Maroons 2
Falcons defenceman Mason Howard with three goals.
St. Catharines Falcons: Howard 3 (4, 5, 6); Nicolas Rubino 3 (9, 10, 11); Logan O’Flanagan (8); Nate Shirton (4).
Chatham Maroons: Craig Spence (5); Isaac Legood (2).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By St. Catharines on Nolan DeKoning (N/A), by Chatham on Andrew MacLean (N/A); Power plays: St. Catharines 1/2, Chatham 0/3; Penalty minutes St. Catharines (8), Chatham (6).
Up next: Ring sizing.
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