Falcons return to winning ways
The St. Catharines Falcons rebounded from a 5-2 loss to Hamilton Monday with a 4-2 victory over the Fort Erie Meteors in Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, Golden Horseshoe Conference game Friday night at Jack Gatecliff Arena.
“Any time you are coming off a loss, especially after a six-game winning streak, you want to make sure that that loss stays secluded as a loss and it doesn’t become a bigger thing,” Falcons coach Tyler Bielby said. “It was a good, bounce-back win for us.”
There was a lot for Bielby to like about his team’s performance.
“In particular, it is nice to see some new additions and what we are getting out of them. I though that Blake Yetman who we just added made some really good passes and allowed us to play at pace at times through the neutral zone. And we had Matt Stranges come back into the lineup,” he said. “I like how we answered after having a week of adversity to deal with a couple of players who are no longer with our team and a couple of new players. Any time that happens in the dressing room, to get an effort like we had tonight is always good.”
The Falcons helped their cause by holding Fort Erie scoreless on four power play chances.
“We had video game numbers in that we hadn’t allowed a power play goal in 42 attempts and the last couple of games we have allowed teams to get on the board. It was great to get back and make kills,” Bielby said. “I still think we were a little sloppy on our penalty kill and we need to tighten it up a little bit.”
The second-place Falcons improved to 12-3-0-1 with the win.
Fort Erie’s head coach Nik Passero described his team’s play as inconsistent.
“We had a great first, not a great second and we were late to the pinch in the third,” he said. “Our goaltending was great again but we didn’t push the pace enough on these guys. We had a game plan going in, we followed it and then we got away from it which is the bread and butter of a young team.
“I am happy with our effort tonight but there is lots of room to improve.”
The Meteors lost their fourth straight game to fall to 5-8-1-0 on the season.
“We won four in a row, we lost three in a row, won two in a row and now we have lost four in a row,” Passero said. “We are young but we have to stop using it as an excuse. We are in games 15 and 16 and we are not young anymore. We have to stop using that as a crutch every time we talk and we can’t go on these skids where we don’t show up.”
Nate Robertson opened the scoring for the Falcons in the first period with his third of the season. St. Catharines’ lead lasted about five minutes before Josh DiFrancecso netted his fifth of the season for the Meteors with 4:34 left in the period. The Falcons were outshot 11-8 by the Meteors in the period.
Robertson restored the Falcons lead with his second of the game 7:36 into the second frame. Jonah Boria added his third of the season on the power play shortly past the halfway point of the period. Shots in the second favoured the St. Catharines 12-10.
The Falcons pushed their lead to 4-1 1:12 into the third period when Chris Reid netted his fifth of the season. The Meteors’ Noah Cuizon cut the lead to 4-2 at the 8:23 mark but that is as close as the Meteors would get. The Falcons outshot the Meteors 11-10 in the final frame.
Falcons 4 Meteors 2
Nate Robertson with two goals.
For the St. Catharines Falcons: Robertson (3, 4); Chris Reid (5); Jonah Boria (3).
For the Fort Erie Meteors: Josh DiFrancecso (5); Noah Cuizon (1).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By St. Catharines on Joshua Smith (32), by Fort Erie on Andrew MacLean (31); Power plays: St. Catharines 1-for-3, Fort Erie 0-for-4; Penalty minutes: St. Catharines 12, Fort Erie 6.
Up next: The Falcons host the Niagara Falls Canucks Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Jack Gatecliff Arena. The Meteors host Caledonia Saturday at 7:15 p.m. at the Fort Erie Leisureplex.