Flyers Shade Lincolns 2-1 Thanks To Final Minute Goal – by C. Scott Holland
It was the worst nightmare any coach could have – a strong offensive team being shutdown by a team at the bottom of the standings.
Such was the case for Tony Piroski’s Leamington Flyers on Thursday night at the Highbury Canco Arena when they hosted the St. Marys Lincolns. The Flyers, who had romped in their last couple of games, certainly did not display the overpowering offense they’ve shown lately.
Instead it was the Lincolns who came in with something to prove and almost completed their mission.
Lincs’ goaltender Paul Town make his first start since being knocked out of a game vs the Strathroy Rockets on November 6 and played superbly. Town halted 51 of 53 shots while Leamington counterpart Michael Barrett stopped 22 of 23 which came his way.
For 45 minutes, the Flyers simply pummelled shots at Town only to have him turn aside everything that came his way.
But when the final buzzer sounded the Leamington Flyers had nipped the St. Marys Lincolns 2-1.
Perhaps what had set the game’s tone and tempo was the fact that Lincolns’ forward Tom McHenry drove down the left lane and blasted a shot at Barrett which scooted past him and gave the Lincs a 1-0 lead. McHenry’s shot was the very first one of the game on the Flyers’ net.
Stung by that early tally which came at 5:40 the Flyers appeared to dig down deeper and appeared to cash in the tying marker at 10:24 of the first, only to have it negated due to a high stick.
The Lincs’ netminder literally stood on his head in the second frame stopping all 26 shots which the Flyers put on net – and it could have easily been quite a different game had Leamington converted the three or four chances they had from less than five feet out with an open net, but managed to miss entirely.
Town wasn’t the only one making great saves. Leamington’s Barrett made a pad save on a Graham Brulotte bullet in the second only to see Brulotte collect the rapid rebound and try again. However Barrett, who was sprawled across the ice, reached out with his stick and poked the low shot away to keep it a 1-0 match.
The hard work of the rejuvenated Lincs showed as they hustled and clung desperately to that 1-0 lead. Throughout the entire 60 minutes, the Flyers’ offense did not show the dominance of recent weeks but were finally rewarded midway through the third period.
Joe Urbanic held up just long enough to stay onside and passed to Mitchell Amante. Amante found Scott Emerson in close and Emerson faked a forehand shot before lifting a backhand high over Town. There was some discussion afterwards about whether the play was onside or not. The Lincolns’ bench believed it was offside but the officiating crew allowed the marker to stand and suddenly it was a new contest.
A headcheck call to Leamington’s Zak Parlette and a tripping call to Colin Moore gave the Lincs two, late third period powerplay chances. But on both opportunities the Flyers penalty-kill did the job and prevented any goals from being scored.
With one minute left to play in the contest, the Flyers applied immense offensive pressure and the 683 fans in attendance thought it was going to head to overtime. But with 15 seconds left in the frame and a wild scramble around the Lincs’ goal crease, Amante and Emerson poked the puck around until Joe Urbanic scooped it into an open hole for a 2-1 lead.
The Lincs gave it one last shot in the remaining seconds as they lifted Town for an extra attacker but never got any chance to tie it.
NOTES: The Flyers barrage of shots in the second seemed endless and Town really saved the Lincs in that one frame alone …The Lincs who have the lowest penalty minutes the West only took one minor penalty …The Flyers were 0 for 1 and St. Marys 0 for 4 on powerplays …Lincolns used APM gaolie Kyle Morning as the back-up …The Flyers play in Lambton on Saturday night and will be back home vs LaSalle next Thursday while the Lincolns have a busy week ahead hosting Chatham (November 13), St. Thomas (on Sunday, November 15, 7:30 pm) and then visit LaSalle on Wednesday, November 18.
(Joe Urbanic photo credit – twitter)
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 2005/05 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 reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.