Falcons force Game 7
Blake Yetman set the tone early for the St. Catharines Falcons Saturday night.
The veteran winger, who is known more for his skill than his brawn, showed off both Saturday to lead the Falcons to a 3-0 victory over the Caledonia Corvairs before 1,190 fans at the Haldimand Country Caledonia Centre.
The victory evened Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League the best-of-seven semifinal playoff series at 3-3 and sets up a one game, winner take all showdown Monday in St. Catharines for the right to advance to the finals versus the Hamilton Kilty B’s.
Yetman dished out a handful of punishing checks in his first couple of shifts of the game, which could have been his final junior contest.
“I was telling everybody in the room the 20-year-olds have their careers on the line,” he said. “It’s playoffs, you have to give it 100 per cent all of the time. I guess I have to play a different role in playoffs if I’m not going to score that much.”
Yetman, who had 29 goals and 40 assists in 37 regular season games, also pitched in with a pair of goals to give him seven in 10 post-season games.
His second goal Saturday came on a penalty shot with the Falcons up 2-0 and just over 10 minutes to play.
“Put it home,” Yetman said when asked what was going through his mind before taking the shot. “I live for these moments. I love the pressure. I wasn’t nervous at all. I made a good move and put it in.”
Yetman’s effort did not go unnoticed by St. Catharines coach Tyler Bielby.
“We had a guy like Blake Yetman who I thought was all-world for us tonight,” Bielby said. “He competed and battled hard and showed everybody he’s a guy who just doesn’t get points.”
Bielby feels Yetman’s willingness to battle and do whatever it took set a clear message to the rest of the team.
“It just shows the whole bench how bad these 20-year-olds want it,” Bielby said. “It’s tough. The general public or the average person who hasn’t played at this level of hockey don’t understand how hard it is on the 20-year-olds. It’s their life. It’s what they’ve done forever and as you get into these final moments, it’s a lot on them. That’s why I was so happy to get them another day.”
Following a scoreless first period, the Falcons got on the board just past the mid-way point of the second when Cam Knight scored.
Yetman made it 2-0 early in the third before adding his second on the penalty shot.
Aiden Berry was solid in net picking up the shutout with 24 saves.
Bielby gushed with praise for his club.
“We just love those boys. We love them for a reason. There’s a lot of character. There’s no quit in them. Whether it’s Lucas Tuin at 16 or Jonah Boria at 20, they’re a family. It’s all love and they showed up and got it done,” he said.
The Falcons now have a chance to advance to the finals before their home fans.
“I’m fired up. I hope we have as many fans as we can there supporting us. We’re going to do it for the fans,” Yetman said.
“We’ve had two games at home where we haven’t given our fans our best effort. They deserve our best effort. They’ve been part of our village and we’re going to show up Monday ready to go for them,” he said.
Falcon facts: Joshua Singh, Mitch Dmytrow, Michael Colavecchia and Colton Chipman did not dress for St. Catharines . . . Falcons defenceman Jordan Schanbacher turned 18 Friday.
Falcons forward Blake Yetman with two goals.
Falcons 3 Corvairs 0
St. Catharines Falcons: Yetman 2 (6,7); Cam Knight (4).
Caledonia Corvairs: No scoring.
Game stats: Shots on goal: By St. Catharines on Keegan Jackson (27), by Caledonia on Aiden Berry (24); Power plays: St. Catharines 0/2, Caledonia 0/5; Penalty minutes: St. Catharines 12, Caledonia 6.
On deck: Game 7 Monday at the Seymour-Hanna Sports Complex at 7 p.m.
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