Weekend junior B roundup: Falcons edge Hawks; Mets top Panthers twice
Nathan Kelly has taken the next step forward in his development.
The 19-year-old forward for the Thorold Blackhawks had a solid rookie season with 10 goals and 32 points in an injury-filled campaign.
Now healthy, Kelly has already surpassed those totals with 13 goals and is tied for the team lead in points at 34 with rookie Daniel Vasic.
“I had a couple of injuries last year and one right at the start of this year so it’s been good to stay healthy and be able to be out there,” Kelly said. “(I’m) a lot more confident. A year older, been in the league for a year so I know my way around a little better. Miss my linemates from last year but I have some good ones now.”
Thorold coach/general manager Scott Barnes concurred.
“He had a good year last year. He had some injuries and this year he knows the league more and has been able to take advantage,” Barnes said. “He gives us a lot of speed. He’s very creative and he’s got really good vision. He creates a lot of offence and is leaned on pretty heavily.”
Kelly, who often plays on a line with rookie Brendan Grenville and veteran Dylan Pergentile, is also enjoying his role as one of the older players on the team.
“Being a leader and being a leader by example with all the young guys, it’s nice to help out any way I can,” he said.
Kelly has been one of the catalysts as Blackhawks rebounded from a 1-8 start to being in serious contention for a top-four finish.
Kelly pointed to the acquisition of Jagger North as another big reason for the turnaround.
“We picked up North from St. Catharines and we really needed a guy like that who can score, play in the D zone and stick up for his teammates,” Kelly said. “He does it all. We got him and things started clicking and the young guys got their feet wet in the league and we came together and started winning some games.”
Kelly admitted there is nothing like success.
“The mood in the room is way better when you’re a winner. Everyone’s happier and you’re more fun to be around.
“Winning is the best thing.”
Barnes feels Kelly, who has one year of junior eligibility remaining, could have even more of impact next season if he continues to evolve.
“As a 20-year-old in this league with his skill set, he could have a really big year,” Barnes said.
The Blackhawks fell to 15-16 with a 5-3 loss to the St. Catharines Falcons Saturday night at the Vale Centre in their final game before the Christmas break.
The Falcons improved to 25-3-2 and lead their entire Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League with an .867 winning percentage.
“Glad to finish off the weekend with another two points,” Falcons coach Tyler Bielby said. “It was a long week of practice with Fort Erie and Thorold on the mind. We are happy to take the four points and close out the calendar year on a high note.
“The players will now enjoy a much-deserved break with their families and we will turn our focus to the second half upon our return to the ice. We enjoyed some success through the first 30 games of the season, but we will have to stay focused and work even harder to enjoy success in the last 20.”
Cameron Lowe paced St. Catharines with two goals and an assist while Colton Chipman, Blake Yetman and Cam Knight added singles.
Rookie Stephen Toltl made 22 saves in goal for the win and now has a 1.46 goals-against average and .942 save percentage in 11 games.
Defencemen Jack Sykes, Jonathan Graves and Callum Cheynowski replied for the Blackhawks.
Meteors 5 Panthers 3
The Fort Erie Meteors rebounded from a tough loss Friday in St. Catharines with win over the visiting Pelham Panthers Saturday.
Robert Schmidt, Kyle Adamo, Yianni Koukouves, Thomas Gualtieri and Joseph Macchione scored.
Luca Marandola, Riley Smith and Jordan Adams replied for the Panthers.
Andrew Welch faced 49 shots in net for the Panthers.
Corvairs 5 Kilty B’s 3
The Caledonia Corvairs built a 5-1 lead en route to a 5-3 win at home Saturday night over the Hamilton Kilty B’s.
Markus Dempewolf and Clark Dunford each had two goals for the Corvairs while Alec Stewart also scored.
Marek Pavlas made 28 saves in net for the win.
Owen Cressman, Connor Haynes and Nathan Omeri replied for the Kilty B’s who saw their 11-game winning streak snapped.
Meteors 6 Panthers 1
Macchione collected a goal four assists as the Meteors swept the weekend, home-and-home series with Pelham.
Adamo, Sam Barrett, Marcus Regina, Nicholas Holomego and Matthew Herb rounded out the scoring for the Mets.
Philip Caridi replied for the Panthers.
Junior Canadians 5 Canucks 2
The Welland Junior Canadians scored three times in the third period to break a 2-2 tie and defeat the visiting Niagara Falls Canucks at the Welland Arena.
Cody Inness had two goals while Cody Johnston, Tyler Isherwood and also Peter Spameni scored for Welland.
Alexander Hebblethwaite had both goals for the Canucks.
Caledonia at Welland, 7:30 p.m.
Fort Erie at Hamilton, 10 a.m.
Pelham at Niagara Falls, 7 p.m.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year
Dear reader. If you liked this story or one of the 4,700 other stories found on our website, please consider hitting the Support Us button on the right-hand side of our home page and making a PayPal contribution to our website. Your support would be much appreciated. If you are a business owner, please consider advertising on our site. Our rates are reasonable and we provide plenty of exposure for your business. Contact email@example.com for more information.