Flyers Hang On To Beat Maroons 5-2 On Pink At The Rink Night – by C. Scott Holland

Pink wss the colour that dominated the Highbury Canco arena as the :Leamington Flyers supported Breast Cancer month and it awareness. From the player’s pink jerseys to the sea of pink apparel throughhout the rink, many of the 836 in attendance celebrated the cause as the Flyers hosted the Chatham Maroons.

In a pre-game ceremony many of the players’ mothers or in a couple instances a female relation donned a pink jersey or outfits and accepted roses, hugs and kisses from their Flyers sons. On the sidelines was an auction of the Flyers’ game-worn jerseys on which fans could bid.

As for the contest itself, the pace was fast and furious. The highlight of the opening stanza was a negated goal which the Flyers had apparently scored at 16:02. The puck appeared to go into the net after hitting Chatham starter Ryan Wagner as he lay sprawled on his stomach. But the goal was negated despite the fact no reason why given why. Many fans said at the period’s conclusion that Wagner had knocked the net off its moorings several times and that could have been one reason – and it would give the Flyers a bit of life later in the contest.

The Flyers outshot the Maroons 19-12 in the first.

The second was more intense and the Flyers continued to bombard Wagner with shots while also dominating the play. By the end of the middle frame the Flyers led 3-0.

While on a powerplay early in the second Jaydon Fetter set up Nathan Skulley’s shot that Wagner stopped before Rory DiNiro parked the puck into the open left side to make it 1-0. Some coincidental penalties took place midway through the stanza and at 16:53 Dalton Langlois and Kade McKibbin laid the groundwork for Preston Corp whose blast bounded off the post and into the net. The Flyers wasted little time converting on a last minute powerplay chance. Griffin Robinson initiated a textbook tic-tac-toe play that went to Bryce O’Brien and then McKibbin who dumped it into another open left side for a 3-0 lead.

The Flyers again outshot the Maroons 20-5.

But the third would be a completely different story for the Flyers. Some of it might be attributed to the fact the Flyers had played the London Nationals hard the previous night and what showed wasn’t pretty. Leamington scrambled around in their own end zone for most of the period’s opening minutes. In that time Chatham notched a pair of goals to tighten the score.  Grant Spence fed Dylan Schives who rifled a left lane screen shot past starter Noah Hedrick to put the Maroons on the board. At 7:54 while on a powerplay Jake O’Donnell and Dane Johnstone hooked up with John Supryka whose shot eluded Hedrick. There was some discussion on to whether the net had come off before the puck entered the net, but in the end the marker counted  Wagner was called minutes later for a delay of game but nothing came of that power play. After the Maroons had killed two powerplays Cody Schneider pumped an innocent shot right toward Wagner and Preston Corp slickly converted it past the Chatham netminder to give the Flyers a 4-2 edge. Chatham pulled Wagner with 1:50 left for an extra attacker but the move backfired as Blake Bain connected with Griffin Robinson who found the empty cage. After re-inserting Wagner, the Maroons lifted him again with 1:15 remaining but Chatham never managed to get very deep in the Flyers’ zone and by the time they did have a faceoff there was only a few seconds remaining on the clock.

NOTES:  Many thanks to the people who bid on the game-worn jerseys – whether you won one or not, it doesn’t matter because funds are raised to aid in cancer research. Special extra thanks goes to Oak Farms of Leamington who supplied the roses given out.

…In attendance tonight were interim GOJHL convenor Mark Tuck and new, interim West convenor Doug Johnston. Congratulations to both these fine gentlemen for their support and involvement with the GOJHL.

(photo credit – Debbie Jacques – facebook)

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