Meteors on brink of elimination
It’s put up or shut up and go home for the season time for the Fort Erie Meteors.
The Fort Erie Meteors have given themselves no margin for error after blowing a two-goal lead and dropping a 5-4 overtime decision to the Hamilton Kilty B’s Wednesday night at the Leisureplex.
The Kilty B’s now lead the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, best-of-seven semifinal playoff series 3-1 and can advance to the finals for the second straight season with victory in Game 6 Thursday on home ice.
“It was a tough game,” Meteors captain Josh DiFrancesco said. “We were winning the first two periods and even in the third we were up. A few little breakdowns and they scored on us.
“They punished us, that’s for sure. They’re a high-scoring team and we need to pick up our sticks and bear down at the end of the game.”
The Meteors built a 4-2 lead by the halfway point of the third period when Joseph Macchione, in his first game back after a four-game suspension, scored but couldn’t make it stick.
The Kilty B’s quickly answered Macchione’s goal less than a minute later and then finally tied the game at 4-4 with 15 seconds to play when Matthew Duarte knocked in a rebound off a scramble in front of Fort Erie goaltender Josh Smith.
“It’s crazy,” Meteors general/manager coach Nik Passero said after taking a few minutes to compose himself following the loss. “We make it 4-2 and put a line out there to get the job done and it’s in the back of our net quicker than we can even get the goal called.
“It’s just unacceptable.”
The Kilty B’s then won it less than four minutes into overtime when Nathan Phillips scored.
Passero felt the game was there for the taking.
“We squander way too many opportunities,” he said. “They have an all-star goalie (David Egorov) and he gave us two and we couldn’t figure it out. I thought we were much the better team tonight. We laid it to them, we just have to find a way to put a third period together and get the job done.”
The Meteors will have to find a way to somehow forget the collapse and bring their A game in Hamilton against what it sure to be a pumped up Kilty B’s squad.
“You have to have a bad memory in these scenarios,” DiFrancesco said. “You have to forget the mishaps we had and learn from our mistakes and make adjustments to step up and fix those mistakes and next game come at them and bear down.”
DiFrancesco is one of nine graduating Meteors who could be playing their final game tonight.
“There’s a bunch of us 20-year-olds, it’s our last season and we really have to gather up and put everything on the line. We’re fighting for our last junior game and to keep it alive,” he said. “You always think about it that it could be over but part of playing the game is you want keep it going as long as you can.
“I want my season to end at the end of May when we win the Sutherland Cup. That’s what we’re striving for.”
Passero said the Mets must find a way to turn the page.
“It’s gotta stop right now. You can’t feel bad for yourself or anything. We’ve won two in overtime in this playoffs and now one didn’t go our way. We have to find a way to win,” he said. “It’s disheartening but we have 24 hours. Our season is on the line, backs against the wall. We have to get the job done.”
Kilty B’s 5 Meteors 4 OT
Hamilton’s Dawson McKinney with three points.
Fort Erie Meteors: Joseph Macchione (1); Brad Ditillio (2); Kyle Adamo (2); Liam Loftus (2).
Hamilton Kilty B’s: Nathan Phillips (7); Matthew Duarte (5); Dawson McKinney (4); Justin Monteith (2); Brodie McIntyre (2).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By Fort Erie on David Egorov (24), by Hamilton on Josh Smith (32); Power plays: Fort Erie 1/2,Hamilton 0/1; Penalty minutes: Fort Erie 14, Hamilton 8.
On deck: Game 5 Thursday in Hamilton. Game 6, if necessary, Saturday in Fort Erie.
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