Flyers and Meyerink Blank Lincolns 8-0 – by C. Scott Holland
Both the Leamington Flyers and the St. Marys Lincolns are rebuilding. While the Lincs have been at it for a number of years, the Flyers are just starting. Youth is a big part of both teams programs and on Thursday night at the Highbury Canco arena in Leamington, it was the Flyers who exhibited poise and talent unseen at home thus far this season. But that is not to say that the Lincolns didn’t out up a fight. They did in the opening frame before falling behind in the second and even trying a last minute surge in the third in attempt to break the shutout bid by Leamington’s Connor Meyerink.
When the final buzzer sounded the Flyers had blanked the Lincolns soundly 8-0. One of the most obvious things was that the Flyers played a full 60 minutes of hockey as a team both defensively and offensively. Strong passing and timely shooting were trademarks of the contest too while a physical presence was evident and displayed by both teams throughout the match.
What may have hurt head coach Scott Thompson the most was having six players scratched and four players (APJs and APMs) as call-ups. The main reason for the high numbers of players being out of the Lincs’ lineup was injuries. Leamington had regular goalie Noah Hedrick out with an injury and APJ Tyler Ryan took his spot as the spare netminder.
Both the Flyers and Lincolns jockeyed for that first goal and it was Leamington who reaped the reward. The Flyers botched the go-ahead and eventual game-winner at 6:41 of the opening stanza when Thomas Virban hooked up with Dallas Maurovic whose shot bounded off Lincs’ starter Tristan Lewis and was plucked by Broden Meloche. He banged it home from the left side.
The Flyers’ intensity and puck control was evident in the second frame as for a majority of the stanza they moved the puck around the Lincs’ defensive zone almost at will. The Flyers Brett Vorshuk banked a screen shot off Lewis’ pads at 5:07. With Colin Capstick off for slashing, Scott Florence set-up Cale Phibbs for a powerplay tally from close range. The offensive play-of-the-game was certainly a wonderful tic-tac-toe play at 12:05 when Meloche hit Maurovic who moved in on a two-on-one with Brett Vorshuk. The right to left feed to Vorshuk was timed perfectly as he whisked it into the open right side of the net. Down 4-0 at that juncture, Lewis was pulled and Kyle Morning inserted. It didn’t take the Flyers too long to adjust and less than 90 seconds after taking over, Morning was victimized on a screen shot that began with Parker Jacques and Josh Pope-Ferguson and ended with Griffin Robinson triggering the tally. Tension escalated late in the second and the bubble burst at 17:58 when Leamington’s Zack Guilbeaut and the Lincs’ Chad Hefferrnan squared off. It was a heavy-weight dandy which lasted about two minutes. Both combatants got in some good slugs and the bout was pretty even until Heffernan got a couple of last licks in as he pulled Guilbeault’s jersey over the Flyers player’s head. Both received fighting majors and game misconducts.
Four minutes into the third, the Flyers’ splurge continued. Blake Bain whose right to left pass was knocked in by Maurovic. At 6:41 while on a powerplay, the Flyers Liam Hogan notched their seventh marker by skating across the crease and backhanding the puck through an small opening in Morning’s pads. The Flyers capped the victory at 14:40 when defenseman Zak Parlette drilled a bullet from the right point and watched as it sailed past Morning. It was Parlette’s first goal in two years. The Lincolns did try to mount a couple of last minute rushes in an effort to break Flyer starter Connor Meyerink’s shutout but the Flyers’ defense easily defused the situation.
NOTES: Out of the Lincolns’ lineup were: Dylan Nafziger, Bill Moskal, Mitch Bakker, Andrew Bogdon, Eric Gibb and Caleb Adrian. Jacob Neubaur, Connor Otto, Mick Jung and Caleb Pearson were call-ups …Sylvano Valente, Braden Klemens and Noah Hedrick were scratches for the Flyers …Final sots were 29 by St. Marys and 51 for Leamington …St. Marys went 0 for 6 on the powerplay while Leamington was 1 for 3 …The shutout was Connor Meyerink’s second of the season …The Flyers have a tough schedule playing five contests in the space of eight days. They are in Forest against Lambton Sat. night, then return home for a rare Sunday afternoon game vs Sarnia. That game is also a Domino’s pizza slice giveaway day. Every person who enters the game will receive a free slice of Domino’s pizza. The Flyers upcoming schedule has them in Sarnia next Tuesday night then back at home vs the LaSalle Vipers next Thursday.
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 2004/05 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.