Bishop Mac hockey boys surprise Varsity Reds

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – The Bishop Macdonell Celtics can claim to be the first Guelph squad to take a point off of one of the four out-of-town teams in the District 4/10 high school boys’ hockey league this season.

“It was a great game for our kids,” Bishop Mac coach Tom Gill said. “This level of hockey is between AA and AAA and, unfortunately, we don’t have any AAA players on our team because they’ve committed to the AAA team.”

While the Celtics are looking for their first win of the season, their first point came from a 2-2 deadlock with the Norwell Varsity Reds Tuesday at the West End arena.

“It was a gritty game for our team and they played basic hockey and it worked,” Gill said. “We were up two on them. A couple of little defensive breakdowns and they’re a good team, they capitalized on them. Our goalie (Ben MacDonald) played great and I’m proud of him – I’m proud of all the kids.”

While the Centre Wellington Falcons (5-0-0-0) of Fergus, Palmerston’s Norwell (4-2-1-0), Erin Raiders (4-2-0-0) and Orangeville Bears (4-1-0-0) have a total of five losses between them, all are against one another. Norwell lost to Erin, Erin lost twice to Centre Wellington and Orangeville lost to Norwell. They’d combined to play 12 games against Guelph opponents and were 12-0 until Norwell’s tie with Bishop Mac.

The Celtics took the lead early with a goal in the opening minute of the game and they added another goal six minutes later to carry a 2-0 lead into the second period. That score stood until Norwell tallied with 17 seconds to go in the second. The Varsity Reds added their other goal midway through the third and the remainder of the period and a four-on-four overtime failed to break the stalemate.

Bishop Mac used a fast break that paid off with the two goals.

“We’ve been struggling with our breakout so we’ve been practising a lot with it,” Gill said. “The kids, they got it this time. We have some kids who’ve never played at this level before and they stepped up in this game.”

Lucas Wells and Cole Martin scored for the Celtics while assists went to Ian Alexander and Reed Kurtz.

Cody Camm and Caleb Cribbin hit for the goals for Norwell while Logan Wunless, Zach Cribbin, Isaiah Thornback and Dylan Richardson each had an assist.

The game completed the 2017 portion of the schedule for both teams.

Bishop Mac heads into the break at 0-3-1-1.

“We’ve been struggling because we’ve been playing against some pretty high-end teams. The kids are having fun and we’re in every game,” Gill said. “Early in the season we were struggling. We almost didn’t have a team because we needed a goalie and we needed players. Kids are concerned about school and this and that, but they came out and I think we’re starting to gel better. It’s a tough loop.”