Redhawks spoil the party for Falcons
The table was set perfectly for the St. Catharines Falcons to cruise into the Sutherland Cup finals, but the Cambridge Redhawks had other ideas.
The Redhawks edged the Falcons 4-3 in overtime Tuesday night at Jack Gatecliff Arena to stay alive in the round-robin portion of the Sutherland Cup playoffs and prevent the Falcons from clinching first place and a birth in the best-of-three final.
The Falcons, 2-1, visit the Redhawks, 1-2, Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. to conclude the round-robin portion. A win will clinch first place overall for the Falcons while a loss will leave St. Catharines, Cambridge and Chatham with identical 2-2 records. At that point the Falcons would still likely place first on the tie-breaker (goal differential) while the Redhawks and Maroons would play a one-game playoff to advance to the final.
But first things first.
St. Catharines had a golden opportunity on home ice to advance — a win and Wednesday’s game would not have been played — but failed to take advantage of the situation.
“We beat ourselves tonight,” Falcons coach Tyler Bielby said. “We made it too easy for them in the first period. We gave away pucks at the offensive blueline to send them in on breakaways and two-on-ones. We haven’t done that all year so I’m not sure why we started tonight.
“At the end of the day, we don’t get too low and we get right back at it tomorrow and we’re still in the driver’s seat, that’s the beauty.”
The Falcons fell behind early and never led in the game, needing a goal from Sam Williamson at 17:21 to tie things up at 3-3 and force overtime.
“One of the things you can control at this time of year is how hard you work. I just thought through the first 40 minutes we weren’t willing to pay the price as far as our work ethic goes so we weren’t able to create that lead and were playing catch up all game,” Bielby said. “In the third period we decided to play and the ice tilted a little bit and we were one shot away from losing and that’s what happened.”
Matt Fries ended the drama early, tipping a shot from the point past St. Catharines goaltender Andrew MacLean less than four minutes into the extra period.
That gave the Redhawks another day to live while the Falcons quickly turned their attention to Wednesday.
“We definitely have to focus on the next game now,” St. Catharines captain Joe Colasurdo said. “We had a couple of chances at the end. I thought we had a slow start. We have to bring it tomorrow and play the way we know how to play.”
Colasurdo feels the Falcons were far from their best while the Redhawks were playing for their season.
“They were playing the way they know how to play and I don’t think we were playing the way we know how to play and we felt that,” he said. “We weren’t really skating at the start of the game. You could tell at the end we were cycling and using the point and getting a lot of shots. That’s what we needed to do from the start and we didn’t really do that.
“There’s no panic. We’ve done this many times this year and we just have to look ahead and keep going.”
Falcon facts: Mitch Armstrong, Nate Robertson, Blake Yetman, Matthew Stranges, Mitch Dmytrow and Josh O’Reilly were scratched for the Falcons . . . Cambridge forward Henry Turner was given a major for cross checking and ejected in the second.
Redhawks 4 Falcons 3 OT
Cambridge forward Jacob Coulson with a pair of goals.
St. Catharines Falcons: Sam Williamson (6); Kyle Glenney (3); Mason Howard (3).
Cambridge Redhawks: Jacob Coulson 2 (11,12); Michael McKnight (2); Matt Fries (2).
Game stats: Shots on goal: By St. Catharines on Tanner Wickware (46), by Cambridge on Andrew MacLean (33); Power plays: St. Catharines 2/5, Cambridge 0/3; Penalty minutes St. Catharines 12, Cambridge 17.
Up next: The Falcons visit the Redhawks Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. to conclude the round-robin. A win will clinch first place overall for the Falcons while a loss will leave St. Catharines, Cambridge and Chatham with identical 2-2 records.
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