Flyers Throttle Lincs; Tie Team Most Goals Mark – by C. Scott Holland

Except for a short two minute span of time early in the second period when the Flyers gave the St. Marys Lincolns some momentary life, it appeared as though a red and white giant had just whisked aside a few blades of grass.

Convincingly in front of 466 paid fans, the hometown Flyers marched one step closer to capturing the opening round as they demolished the Lincolns 10-2. It was the most goals any Flyers Jr. B playoff team has scored and equals the mark set in Feb. 1995.

Flyers’ netminder Michael Barrett hasn’t seen much time playing at home since prior to Christmas but got the nod on Sunday night and faced Paul Town. While Barrett had a fairly good opening and third periods, for a couple of minutes in the second the Lincolns applied some pressure and the Flyers and Barrett got caught. Yet despite allowing the Lincs to get back in the game, the Flyers resolve returned and they fired off seven unanswered goals to take their third win of the series. Game four is on Wed. night (Mar. 9) at 7:30 pm in St. Marys and the Flyers look to close out the first round then.

Leamington bombarded Town with 21 shots in the opening stanza but didn’t get rolling until 5:26. Cale Phibbs plucked a rebound and slammed it into an opening to Town’s left. Two minutes later Mitchell Crevatin sent Mark Manchurek into the zone and Manchurek fed Mitch Amante who blasted a shot from the left side which eluded Town. Another three minutes elapsed before Crevatin and Phibbs set up Colin Moore’s left lane shot which was drilled high over Town’s glove and gave Leamington a seemingly comfortable 3-0 lead.  Moore’s goal would stand up as the game winner.

At the outset of the second the Lincolns played better and managed to penetrate the Flyers’ end. A defensive breakdown at 4:45 allowed Graham Brulotte to get a puck past Barrett. On the heels of that play was a roughing penalty handed to Mark Manchurek and on the ensuing powerplay Jordan Winter and Nolan King hooked up with Nathan Smith whose screen shot eluded Barrett.

During both goals the Flyers defense did not play effectively and with the game suddenly standing at 3-2, a spark was ignited on the Leamington bench. Derek Elliott’s shot on net was plucked by Liam Hogan at 8:59 and deposited in the vacant left side to give the Flyers a 4-2 edge. However a four minute powerplay handed to the Lincs on a highsticking call ended with barely a shot on the Flyers’ net as the Leamington defense simply went into lockdown mode.

Seconds after the penalty expired, the scoring binge began. Jacob McGhee laid the groundwork for Moore’s cannon shot during a three-on-one play. Moore’s shot bounced in off a post. Next up, Manchurek and Amante led the next assault with Joe Urbanic cashing in a goal. Less than one minute later Hogan and Thomas Virban exchanged passes with Aaron Langlois whose left lane shot sailed high into the top left corner and made it a 7-2 game.

The Flyers’ offensive rampage wasn’t done yet. While on a powerplay at 2:15 of third, Scott Emerson and Matthew Opblinger worked the puck to Mark Gangnon who gunned a wicked shot from the slot that baffled Town. Near the five-minute mark while on another extra-man drive, a Manchurek rebound was collected by Joe Urbanic and tucked into an open side. At exactly the 10 minute mark, Hogan and Elliott sent Aaron Langlois in close and Langlois deftly deked Town before sliding the puck underneath him to cap the scoring by making it a 10-2 contest.

From that juncture onward, the Lincs were kept quietly at bay by the Flyers’ defense and despite giving them two powerplay opportunities, the Flyers just eliminated any scoring chances via their puck control.

NOTES: Not in the lineup for Leamington were: Nicolas Mainella, Luke Sanko and Zach Gulbeault. Out for the Lincs were: Jeff Schrattner, Tom McHenry, Nick Whitworth and Mike Tuffin …The Lincs were outshot 46-18 …Leamington was 2 for 2 on the powerplay while the Lincs went 1 for 6 …The only time the Flyers have scored 10 goals in a playoff game prior to Sunday night was against the Sarnia Bees on Feb. 25, 1995 – it was the second game of their first round series which they won 4-1 …It was the first playoff appearance of 2015/16 for goalies Michael Barrett (Leamington) and Paul Town (St. Marys) …Predicting the series? We aren’t sure about it, but it seems that St. Marys’ PA announcer claimed that the series would be wrapped up on Wed. March 9. Late in Saturday night’s game the announcer stated that game three would be Sunday night in Leamington and “that we would wrap things up here on Wed. Mar. 9 for game four.” Maybe the announcer has vacation plans – or March break plans. …or maybe it’s an early summer prediction.

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.

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