Forlin on fire for Falcons
Parker Forlin is coming into his own as a junior hockey player.
The 16-year-old rookie winger has put together a solid season for St. Catharines Falcons and recently has been playing the best hockey of his young career.
Forlin collected two goals and an assist as the Falcons defeated the Thorold Blackhawks 4-2 in a Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League game Friday night at the Seymour-Hannah Sports Complex.
Forlin now has 14 goals and 40 points in 39 games.
“He’s come a long way,” Falcons coach Tyler Bielby said. “With young guys, it’s all about building confidence and trust with them. We decided to put him in a big role early on so he could work through some of those growing pains and now it seems to be paying off.”
Forlin also had two goals in an assist in a 5-1 win in a chippy affair versus Thorold Thursday.
“He saw his teammates support him and have his back and it allows him to just go out and play,” Bielby said. “It’s special to watch what he’s doing now.”
Forlin’s output comes at a crucial time with leading scorer Blake Yetman out of the lineup with a minor injury.
“You’re not putting that weight on a 16-year-old to fill that role with Yetman out of the lineup but, hey, if he wants to be that guy, we’ll support it,” Bielby said.
Forlin, who was drafted by the Barrie Colts in the fourth round (73rd overall) of the 2022 Ontario Hockey League draft, is thrilled to be able to produce.
“It feels awesome,” the Niagara Falls resident said.
Forlin admits he feels much more at ease with almost an entire season under his belt.
“I’m much more comfortable,” he said. “It’s not easy as a 16-year-old with a new team and new league. I was just trying to keep my role with these guys.
“It’s a pro-like schedule. Just trying to keep fresh as much as possible, but obviously it’s tough playing with some guys who are four years older.”
Bielby feels Forlin has what it takes to play at the next level.
“His hockey IQ is high enough to make the next step,” Bielby said. “With him, it’s about continuing to play with pace and make sure he has a motor because if he dictates the play to the other team, he’ll be very difficult to play against. He’s really good around the net and sees things other guys don’t see.”
The Falcons, 34-4-2, lead the Hamilton Kilty B’s by six points for first place with 10 games to play in the regular season.
“If you look at the record, of course we’re happy but as coaches we’re worried about the game and the process and making sure we don’t get too far ahead of ourselves and keep getting better,” Bielby said. “We’ve got 10 games to play to make sure we’re at our best come playoff time.”
The Falcons took a 4-1 lead before the Hawks scored in the third and put on some good pressure in an attempt to tie the game.
“Six games in nine nights. We blocked a lot of shots. We would have liked to score a few more goals — we put a lot into his chest — but I was happy with the way we battled on the defensive side of the puck,” Bielby said.
The Blackhawks have dropped three in a row to fall to 20-18-2.
Thorold coach Scott Barnes had no issue with his team’s effort.
“I was happy with that game,” Barnes said. “I think the difference was that one power-play, they had two power-play goals against us and that the difference in the game.
“Our big thing tonight was having a good start and hopefully keeping it a low scoring game and capitalizing on our chances. I thought we played a good three periods.”
Thursday in Port, Forlin paced St. Catharines with two goals and an assist while Cam Lowe, Kyle Glenney and Colton Chipman also scored.
St. Catharines led 4-0 by the six-minute mark of the first period.
Stephen Toltl made 14 saves for the win in goal.
Adrian Diodati netted the lone goal for Thorold.
Falcons facts: Carter Geoffroy and Blake Yetman did not dress for St. Catharines . . . Daniel Vasic, Callum Cheynowski and Brendan Grenville were scratched for the Hawks . . . The Falcons annual booster bash will be Saturday, Feb. 25. Tickets are $20 each and available from any team director or player.
Falcons 4 Hawks 2
St. Catharines forward Parker Forlin with three points.
St. Catharines Falcons: Parker Forlin 2 (13, 14); Jonah Boria (12); Cameron Knight (12).
Thorold Blackhawks: Jagger North (9); Dylan Coers (7).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By St. Catharines Tucker Adams (39), by Thorold on Aiden Berry (22); Power plays: St. Catharines 2/5, Thorold 1/3; Penalty minutes: St. Catharines 8, Thorold 12.
On deck: The Falcons host Welland Friday, Feb. 3. The Blackhawks are home to Caledonia the same night.
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