Weekend junior B roundup
Thorold Blackhawks coach Scott Barnes had never seen Izayah Luddington play until the talented defenceman arrived in time for the club’s final pre-season game.
Barnes quickly inserted the 17-year-old Richmond Hill native into the lineup and Luddington didn’t disappoint.
“I knew about him, knew he was at OHL camp and we were looking for some D,” Barnes said. “We put him on the power play right off the hop and he excels in that area.
“It was a nice add for sure.”
Barnes loves Luddington’s skill set.
“He’s a smooth skater and has really nice hands. Gets the puck through. Very skilled offensively, very dynamic. He’s running our power play. He’s got good size and he does a lot of good things.
“I kind of forget he’s that young. He comes across as an older guy.”
Luddington, who has a goal and six points in seven games, has enjoyed his time with Blackhawks after playing last season with the Richmond Hill Coyotes AAA U18 squad.
“It’s been a good experience coming to the team,” he said. “The guys have been very inclusive and shown me lots of love.
“The play style is very similar to what I had last year. Everyone is working hard and committed to getting to the next level.”
Luddington has been used as the quarterback on the power play, a role he is very familiar with.
“I’ve been doing it my whole life so a lot of it is confidence,” he said. “You need to be confident to be able to hold the puck and tell everyone where to go and make sure everything is going properly and take the shots when you need to take the shots and make the passes.
“I’ve always had good vision, being able to walk the blueline and passing to my forwards.”
Luddington was selected in the 13th round (254th overall) by Kingston in the 2021 OHL Priority Draft and has attended their camp the past two seasons.
“Basically the first year I went they told me I did well and to come back next year and this year it was pretty much the same thing so next year I’m hoping to go back and prove myself,” he said. “A lot of it is getting bigger and stronger. Over the summer I put on 20 pounds and also (week on) my defensive zone work and being a little more physical.”
Barnes feels Luddington has the tools to continue playing beyond the junior B level.
“He’s definitely going to play at higher levels, whether he goes the OHL route or whatever else he pursues,” Barnes said. “He’s headed in the right direction.”
The Blackhawks lost a pair of games this weekend to fall to 1-7.
Friday in Port Colborne, they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Welland Junior Canadians.
Peter Spameni’s goal seven minutes into the third broke a 2-2 tie.
Carson Bennett and Aidan Leblanc also scored for Welland.
Riley Smith and Daniel Vasic replied for the Blackhawks.
Vasic had two and rookie Brendan Grenville one as the Hawks lost 6-3 at Caledonia Saturday.
Markus Demcewolf paced Caledonia with three goals while Colin Smith, Liam Shwedyk and Dylan Dekoe added singles.
“We’re already in a pretty good hole here but the one thing we have out of this is the games we’ve lost have basically been one-goal games in the third period,” Barnes said. “We just have to find a way to be consistent. Pretty much every game we’ve put together a really good two periods. We have to find way to put together three full periods. It’s a little bit on inexperience coming out but I’ve really liked our games but that one period a game has cost us.
“This month will be pretty important for us trying to figure out who we are and what we’re going to be. Hopefully we can figure that out and try and string some wins together.”
Meteors 5 Canucks 3
Marcus Regina scored twice to lead the Fort Erie Meteors past the visiting Niagara Falls Canucks at the Leisureplex.
Doug Doren, Yianni Koukouves and Robert Schmidt added singles.
Josh Smith made 30 saves in net for the winners.
“Power play and goaltending were great and it had a little bit of playoff intensity which is always nice to see in October,” Fort Erie coach/general manager Nik Passero said. “Had some great performances from guys that weren’t on the scoresheet like Jerry Rausch and Caleb Bidgood.”
Benjamin Kay, Jake McKinstray and Gerhig Lindberg replied for the Canucks.
Mihalo Corovic kicked out 41 shots in a losing effort.
Corvairs 9 Panthers 6
A six-goal second period was the difference as the visiting Corvairs defeated the Pelham Panthers.
Smith and Josh Russell had two goals each for the Corvairs while singles came off the sticks of Dekoe, Calvin Crombie, Cam Kay, Brodie Leblanc and Tanner Hunt. Zachary Naherne chipped in with five assists.
Connor Clark had two for the Panthers while Ty Boone, Philip Caridi, Nolan Shaw and Josh Cacciola added singles.
Falcons 6 Junior Canadians 0
The St. Catharines Falcons rebounded from a tough loss Friday night with a convincing victory 6-0 at Welland.
Rookie Stephen Toltl made 32 saves for his second shutout of the season.
“The guys had a good bounce back in front of him,” Falcons coach Tyler Bielby said.
Michael Colavecchia scored his first two junior goals for St. Catharines while Willem Posthumus added his first. Jordan Schanbacher, Blake Yetman and Kyle Glenney also scored.
Chris Reid had three helpers. Jonah Boria and Cam Knight a pair of assists each.
Fort Erie at Caledonia, 7:30 p.m.
Thorold at Hamilton, 7 p.m.
Welland at St. Catharines, 7 p.m.
Hamilton at Niagara Falls, 7 p.m.
Pelham at Thorold (at Port Colborne), 7:30 p.m.
St. Catharines at Fort Erie, 7 p.m.
Niagara Falls at Caledonia, 7:30 p.m.
Thorold at Pelham, 2:45 p.m.
Caledonia at Welland, 7 p.m.
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