Maroons Edge Flyers In OT – by C. Scott Holland
A large crowd of 880 watched the rivalry between the Maroons and hometown Flyers unfold another chapter on Thursday night at the Highbury Canco Arena. With the Flyers donning distinctive pink and white jerseys with black lettering and trim, plus pink hockey tape, the game commenced and had more twists and turns than a mystery novel. As regulation time wound down the Maroons held a 4-3 edge but the Flyers lifted their goalie for an extra-attacker and tabbed the tying goal only seconds before the third period ended.
Leamington had five cracks at winning it in the first four-on-four OT, but the Maroons capitalized on a behind the net miscue and Nolan Vandenboom notched the game-winner – his third of the game – at 2:13 for a 5-4 victory.
It was an intense physical battle at the outset and much of the game’s physicality carried into the third. Both teams used rookie goalies as Lucas Patton started for Chatham and Connor Meyerink was between the pipes for Leamington. Neither netminder nor their defenses were stellar, but Patton did make enough saves to gain the win.
The Flyers struck first – only 1:58 into the game as Brayden Meloche tagged Brett Vorshuk with a pass from which he unleashed a wicked wrist shot from the faceoff circle to Patton’s left and watched as it bounded into the net. The Maroons’ Nolan Vandenboom begin his hattrick night at 6:22 when he took the handiwork of Braden Henderson and John Montgomery and whisked it to the top left corner from the slot area. With a two-man advantage when Dakota Bohn went off for a head check and Cory Bussing took a four-minute trip and a game misconduct, Mitchell Crevatin and Josh Pope-Ferguson connected with Vorshuk on a beautiful tic-tac-toe play which went right to left before Vorshuk shovelled the puck past Patton at 9:44.
On the heels of that play, the Maroons stormed back to even the score as Vendenboom rifled his second of the evening from the slot after taking the groundwork laid by Austin Thompson and Keegan Macvoy. But at 16:50 the Flyers reasserted a one-goal lead when Blake Bain set-up Mitchell Crevatin’s tally from the slot.
The battles along the boards and for puck possession increased in the second frame. Chatham got the equalizer on a powerplay at 3:54 with Sylvano Valente in the sin bin for tripping. Steve Beenackers’ shot bounded off the pads of Meyerink and onto the stick of Kevin Gursoy who pumped it into the open right side. A crossschecking penalty to Crevatin at 7:08 proved costly as the Maroons’ top scorer Austin Thompson pumped a shot from the slot at 7:31 to give the Maroons ia 4-3 edge. Shortly thereafter the nastiness revealed itself. Ten-minute misconducts were issued to Leamington’s Zach Guilbeault and Chatham’s Steven Beenackers while the Flyers Parker Jacques received a minor for roughing. A minute later, Chatham’s Josh Barraclough and Leamington’s Nicolas Mainella were sidelined with 10s and the Maroons’ Bobby Harrison took a minor for interference.
Things remained calm in the third as more time was spent jockeying for the puck and position as opposed to shooting on net. The Flyers managed nine shots in the final frame to the Maoons’ seven in the period. Everything came down to the final 70 seconds. With 1:14 left to play and a faceoff in the Maroons’ zone. Leamington finally worked the puck in close to the net and had two cracks at getting the tying goal as Mark Gangnon and Blake Bain had heir attempts halted. However, Liam Hogan moved onto the doorstep and succeeded into batting the puck io the net to knot the game.
In the overtime stanza, Leamington had about five chances to tab the game-winner before Chatham took possession of the puck behind the Flyers’ net. Dakota Bohn slipped it to Vandenboom who skated out around the left post and fired it over Meyerink to give the Maroons’ a 5-4 victory at 2:13.
Final shots were Leamington 39 Chatham 25. The Flyers were one for four on the powerpay while Chatham went two for six.
NOTES: With the loss Leamington remains in fourth place but is only one point behind Chatham and London and three back of first-place LaSalle …The LaSalle Vipers are the hottest team in the GOJHL having won their last 10 games – that is a new team record for the Vipers. Their streak started on Sept. 21. Meanwhile the Chatham Maroons have now won nine straight dating back to Sept. 25 …Scratches for Leamington in Thursday’s game were: goalie Noah Hedrick, Scott Florence and Thomas Virban; sitting out for Chatham were: goalie Brendan Johnston, Josh King and Ryan Gruszka ..The win by tender Lucas Patton gives him an unblemished 5-0 record …Backing up Flyers’ starter Connor Meyerink was APM Aidan Pitre. …Prior to the game there were on-ice ceremonies involving the players skating out to give their mothers or close female relative a pink rose as well as local representatives dropping a ceremonial puck in honour of breast cancer awareness. Each players’ pink sweater was auctioned off to help raise money for cancer research ..It is an extended layoff of a week for the Flyers. They have no road games and will not play again until Thursday Oct. 27 when they’ll host the St. Marys Lincolns.
(photo credit – Flyers’ facebook)