Nobody beats the Mizz; Kilty B’s edge Mets (updated)
Zach Mizzi is quickly gaining a reputation as a clutch playoff performer.
After scoring just one goal during the regular season, the 18-year-old forward has already doubled that amount in the post-season.
Mizzi netted his second of the playoffs Monday as the Falcons defeated the Caledonia Corvairs 3-2 to take a 2-1 lead in their Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League, Golden Horseshoe Conference best-of-seven semifinal playoff series.
Game 4 is Wednesday in Caledonia.
“It feels so great to help the boys out a little more than I did in the regular season,” Mizzi said. “Those are two big goals for me. I felt like I got the boys going there.”
Mizzi scored the game’s first goal less than three minutes in after crashing the net and somehow knocking the puck in amidst a wild scramble.
“Go to the net, keep that stick down and keep driving to the blue paint and whack it home,” Mizzi said of his skill set.
Mizzi is reminiscent of Mitch Armstrong, a character, hard-working player who has risen to the occasion when it matters the most. Last season, Armstrong found the net with with more regularity in the playoffs after playing more of a checking role during the season.
“I’m happy to so whatever the coaches and staff need me to do,” Mizzi added. “If that’s (checking role) the job they need me to do, I’m happy to do that any day.
“I love this team and love the boys. Anything they need I’ll do that for them.”
Falcons coach Tyler Bielby was happy to see Mizzi rewarded.
“Long year for Mizz. Probably saw fewer minutes than he is used to playing and going through the dues as a first-year guy with us,” Bielby said. “There’s always a guy in the playoffs who always shows up and we (coaches) had a hunch it might be Mizz and so far he’s got a couple of big goals for us.
“Other teams are always going to scheme against your top lines and check them a little closer and the winning teams always have depth.”
The Falcons took a 3-1 lead with a pair of power-play goals in the second, then weathered a fierce onslaught from the Corvairs in the third period.
“They were desperate in the third down a couple of goals and we got pucks out for the most part,” Bielby said. “There were a couple of moments where we were scrambling but we got pucks out and made sure we got pucks in behind their goal line and really there wasn’t much of a threat until the last few minutes.”
Bielby was particularly proud of rookie defenceman Lucas Tuin.
“Tuin was the strong guy on the ice in the third period,” Bielby said. “He won every battle and got pucks out for us. I’m really happy with 44 and how he played physically for us.”
The game was a hard-fought affair with several hard hits on each side.
“It’s playoffs and it’s going to be a physical game,” Bielby said. “Listen, we have those guys, Nate Shirton is one the toughest hitters in the league and (we have) Cam Knight and Colin Ewing. At the end of the day, we can handle ourselves when it gets physical and I thought they did that tonight. They had good push back and won those battles.”
The Falcons were buoyed by the return of forward Cam Lowe, who has been out for a significant stretch with an upper body issue.
“He’s just a hockey player,” Bielby said. “He loves the game and it was hard for him to be out. All he wants to do is play. If anyone was here tonight they could see what he brings to our hockey team. I thought he was the best player on the ice in the first period and that’s a kid that hasn’t played in two months.”
Falcon facts: Cal Reesor, Chris Reid and Michael Colavecchia did not dress for the Falcons . . . Zach Ladd and Cam Kay were scratched for the Corvairs . . . The Falcons plan to raise a banner to honour former goalie Andrew MacLean’s outstanding season last year which included 10 shutouts in the regular season and five more in the playoffs.
Kilty B’s 3 Meteors 1
The Hamilton Kilty B’s scored late in the second period and again late in the third to secure a 3-1 win over the visiting Fort Erie Meteors Monday in Hamilton.
The win gives the Kilty B’s a 2-1 lead in their best-of-seven semifinal playoff series.
Game 4 is in Fort Erie Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Following a scoreless first period, Aaron Chiarot gave the Kilty B’s 1-0 lead early in the second. Kyle Adamo tied the game at 1-1 halfway through the period before Matthew Duarte netted the winner with 22 seconds remaining in the second.
Nathan Phillips added an insurance marker at 18:37 of the third.
The Meteors went 0-for-6 on the power play while Hamilton scored once in three opportunities with the man advantage.
Falcons 3 Corvairs 2
Falcons forward Cam Lowe with his first game in two months.
St. Catharines Falcons: Blake Yetman (4); Zach Mizzi (2); Jonah Boria (1).
Caledonia Corvairs: Dylan Dekoe (7); Ryan O’Donnell (4).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By St. Catharines on Marek Pavlas (24), by Caledonia on Aiden Berry (38); Power plays: St. Catharines 2/5, Caledonia 0/4; Penalty minutes: St. Catharines 8, Caledonia 10.
Up next: Game 4 Wednesday at Caledonia. Game 5 Friday in St. Catharines.
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