Falcons, Kilty B’s set for showdown Friday
There isn’t much to choose from between the St. Catharines Falcons and Hamilton Kilty B’s.
The Falcons lead the Golden Horseshoe Conference with the best overall record in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League at 36-5-4 while the Kilty B’s are second with a 34-6-5 mark, just three points off the pace set by the defending Sutherland Cup champions.
Furthermore, the teams have split their first six matchups this season, each winning two games in overtime and one in regulation.
The Kilty B’s visit the Falcons Friday for the final time this season in game that could help decide first place overall, something not lost on Falcons head coach Tyler Bielby.
“I think we can’t undermine the top two teams are playing,” he said. “There’s always a little bit of an extra push there but we really have to stick to the process and make sure we’re focusing shift to shift, whether it’s Hamilton or someone else. At this time of year it’s all about being consistent and being where you want to be two weeks from now and Hamilton is just another piece that’s in the way of us and the playoffs.”
Bielby said while finishing first overall is an impressive accomplishment it has never been the focus, but rather a byproduct of playing well.
“It’s no easy feat, especially over a 50-game regular season. Of course we’d love that for the boys, especially the 20-year-olds, to take something like that with them, but first place in the regular season has never been the ultimate goal,” he said. “The goal is the Sutherland Cup and a successful playoff run. A regular season first place finish would be icing on the cake but a lot of work to do still.”
Bielby feels the Falcons need to be at their best versus the Kilty B’s.
“It just takes some focus and making sure we’re playing the game the right way and not taking a shift off,” he said. “Hamilton is a good enough team if you take shifts off or making costly mistakes they will make you pay for them.”
The Falcons hit a bit of a bump in the road recently with a loss to Fort Erie Saturday after a pair of overtime losses versus Welland and Thorold the week prior.
“Dealing with a little adversity,” Bielby said. “We didn’t deal with much of it during the season with injuries and guys being banged up. We’re dealing with that a little more recently and as a result, it’s a good time for the team to reflect and how to work through this adversity. The 20 guys that get dressed on any given night are capable of getting the job done, no matter who’s in the lineup.
“It’s a team sport for a reason and there’s five guys on the ice for a reason. Everybody has to contribute, whether you’re leading the league in points or a defensive-minded specialist. Everybody has a role to play and when somebody is out of the lineup it’s next man up and an opportunity for someone to get more minutes and make the most of it and that’s part of the development and the journey.”
The Falcons have a busy weekend with games in Caledonia Saturday and Niagara Falls Monday for a 3 p.m. game on Family Day. They conclude the regular season the following week with games versus the Meteors and Canucks.
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