Flyers Stun Maroons 8-0 In Highly Anticipated Game – by C. Scott Holland

In one of the most highly anticipated game’s of the early season the Chatham Maroons made their first appearance at Leamington’s Highbury Canco Arena on Thursday, November 5. It was the second meeting of the season between the two West Conference clubs. The only time they had faced each other previously was a September 20 game in Chatham which the Maroons won 5-3.

Heading into the match at Leamington, both teams felt they had something to prove. The Maroons had a seven-game win-streak and had moved up the standings into a third place tie just two points behind second-place London. Since acquiring goalie Brendan Johnston from the OHL Windsor Spitfires, the Maroons have been winning including games against St. Thomas and LaSalle.

The Leamington Flyers had just been stung 5-2 by the London Nationals the previous night and looked to gain some redemption. They did not want to begin any kind of losing skid.

The rivalry between the two teams has always been great and with 1088 fans watching there was an electricity in the air reminiscent of playoffs.

The game’s emotions and intensity were high from the drop of the puck and penalty problems hit both teams quickly. Refs Brad Potter and Shawn Hamelin did not let either team get away with much.

Two of the best goalies in the GOJHL were pitted against one another – Leamington’s Tyler Wall and Chatham’s Brendan Johnston.

It was the Flyers who struck first when the Maroons had defenseman Connor McKinnon sidelined for crosschecking. Derek
Elliott and Mitchell Amante tested Johnston before a rebound bounded onto Luke Sanko’s stick and Sanko who was to the left side
of the Maroons’ goalie swept it past him for a powerplay marker.

Being a man short cost the Maroons again at the nine-minute mark. This time several players – Leamington’s Amante as well as Maroons’ Jordan Winter and plus a player serving goaltender Johnston’s penalty sat out. Liam Hogan and Zak Parlette worked the puck to Elliott whose wicked screen shot found the target. At this point all indications pointed to it being a long night and those signs bore true.

Only 15 seconds after the second goal Chatham’s Blair Derynck along with Leamington’s Nikolas Mainella and Colin Moore were handed 10-minute misconducts all stemming from a clean hip-check delivered by Mainella near the Flyers’ blueline. Leamington’s defensive work only increased dramatically from that point on and the Flyers began to roll late in the period. Liam Hogan tapped in a loose rebound to notch his first Junior B tally.

At the outset of the second period the Flyers began to put the game on cruise control. With Thomas Virban in the sin bin for a charging penalty, Parlette and Amante teamed up to send Matthew Opblinger down the right lane and a breakaway attempt. As Opblinger neared Johnston his shot was slightly off and Johnston tried to bat it away only to make a miscue and have it carom off him and go into the net.

That goal was the game-breaker because near the five-minute mark Cale Phibbs hooked a pass to Joe Urbanic whose left point blast ended up behind Johnston and the Maroons inserted back-up Parker Butler.

Goal number seven was teed up at 7:45 when Amante and JP Grineau, who had donned the captain’s C, laid the groundwork for Cale Phibbs’ marker.

At 10:16 of the frame the Flyers Thomas Virban raced out from the penalty box to take Mitchell Amante’s feed and go on a breakaway. Virban made no mistake and drilled it high to make it 6-0.

The Maroons were clearly frustrated at this point. Often their offensive drives ended with shots going high and wide or right into Tyler Wall and like in the first frame the Maroons were held to only eight shots on net. Certainly it was not a typical Chatham performance.

The intensity was cranked up another notch at 18:57 of the second when the Flyers were defending their own zone. Luc Knight was called for a check-from-behind and that was like adding gasoline to a burning fire. Players paired off and several fights broke out. The best of which was Zak Parlette and Steven Beenackers’ toe-toe bout.

While on yet another powerplay the Flyers’ MItchell Amante fired the final goal at 18:20 as Cale Allen and Mark Gangnon created slick tic-tac-toe, left to right play.

In the final frame the Maroons and Flyers play some good hockey as the Maroons tried to get one puck past Wall and outshot the Flyers 10-8. The Flyers’ defense was outstanding and preserved the shutout to take it 8-0.

Notes: For rookie netminder Wall, it was his third time leaving the opposition with a goose egg. The Flyers were without captain Jacob McGhee, Scott Emerson and Zach Gulbeault while the Maroons had sat Ben Nicholls. Rookie Maroons’ forward #25 Austin Thompson has amassed 10 goals for Chatham. He was cut by the Flyers late in training camp this year.

The Flyers’ next game is Tuesday, November 10 when they travel to Sarnia; they meet the St. Marys Lincolns at home next Thursday. The Maroons host LaSalle on Sunday, Novemeber 8 and then travel to St. Marys on Friday, November. 13.

(photo credit – Windsor Star)

C. Scott Holland is an accomplished author, a former Western Jr. B Hockey League statistician and is recognized as the West Conference’s and GOJHL’s historian. A lifelong resident of Leamington Scott was a journalist for the now defunct Leamington Post for 26 years and currently writes for the Southpoint Sun. Among the books he has authored are: 75 Years: A History of the Leamington and Erie Shores Golf Course; A Century In The Making – History of Heinz Canada 1909-2009; Leamington Flyers 1992/93-2011/12 Platinum Anniversary Special Program; the Western Jr. B Record Book 2003/04 and 2005/06 editions; as well as updates of both the West Conference and GOJHL Record Books. He was been a member of he Leamington Jr. Flyers hockey club for the last 27 years and served many years as a board member, statistician, press box announcer, and scorekeeper among other duties. He has been named the West Conference Volunteer of Year and a Windsor-Essex Sportsperson of Year award. He resides in Leamington with his wife Susan.
He can be contacted at

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