Falcons Hand Corvairs First Defeat Of Season – by C. Scott Holland
A highly anticipated matchup between two GOJHL rivals occurred at Jack Gatecliff arena on Friday night when the undefeated Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs visited the St. Catharines Falcons. The meeting of the two clubs was the first of the season and their heated rivalry over the past few years remains intact.
Both teams had a number of new players in their lineup, all of whom were playing their first games with their respective clubs. The Corvairs added three new forwards to the lineup – Chad Brown, Brad Johnson and Nick Zotti while the Falcons had five newcomers – Brett and Brandon Vuic, Jack Webb, Mitchell Webb and back-up goalie Ethan Siobodzian.
There were excellent scoring chances at both ends as well as solid goaltending clutch saves. Penalties were fairly even and no fights. This contest was mostly a netminders’ game and one which featured lots of end-to-end action. Fans were thrilled and often wondered when and who would score the next goal.
Special teams did not affect the outcome greatly. Caledonia was blanked on seven extra man tries while St. Catharines tabbed one for seven attempts.
For nearly 20 minutes goalies Marc Sinclair of Caledonia and Joel Horodziejczyk of the Falcons kept the sharp-shooters off the scoreboard.
The scoreless tie was broken at 9:18 of the middle stanza when Falcons’ forward Tyler Jackson triggered the opening goal. That single goal led to an increase in action and some players being sidelined. Corvairs’ Blake Luscombe was assessed a two-minute boarding penalty plus a 10 minute misconduct within a minute of Jackson’s goal. Phillip Chadder cranked out a powerplay tally to put the Falcons into a precious 2-0 lead. But Jackson was handed a goaltender interference call shortly thereafter and had no sooner hit the ice again when he was called for a head check and a 10 minute misconduct. The Corvairs narrowed the margin at 19:25 when veteran forward Jake Brown netted a powerplay goal.
The biggest goal of the night came just 15 seconds into the third period when Nicholas Dozzi snapped shot that skipped past veteran Caledonia netminder Matt Sinclair. Tension remained high as the third period slipped away and in the final minute the Corvairs frustrations showed. With 28 seconds left in the contest and St. Catharines holding 3-1 lead, Corvairs Corey Pawley, who played for both Lambton Shores and London in the 2011/12 season, plus Matthew Hore were handed 10 minute misconducts for inciting. Obviously both players had hit maximum frustration.
In the end it was a goaltenders’ duel with the Corvairs’ Sinclair handling 21 of 24 shots and getting the loss. Horodziejczyk of the Falcons got the victory making 21 saves of the 22 shots which came his way.
With the loss the Corvairs will look to rebound while the Falcons will hope that the momentum can turn into a good string of wins.
More than anything this first meeting of the season between the two is just one example of the quality brand of hockey being played in the GOJHL.
Falcons’ head coach Frank Girhiny earned a new franchise record with his 158th win. He eclipsed the previous record holder Mark Barrick who had 157 wins. Barrick earned his wins in 257 games while Girhiny needed just 212 games.
Photo credit: St. Catharines Standard