Canes top Stratford to put an end to losing streak
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – The Guelph Hurricanes put the brakes on their Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League losing skid with a 5-1 victory over the Stratford Warriors Sunday at the Sleeman Centre.
“It’s a huge monkey off everybody’s back and now we can start focusing on the end goal and go from here and build off this,” winning goaltender Trenton McGrail said.
The Canes had lost their previous eight games with three of those losses coming against the Warriors including one on Thursday night at the Sleeman Centre.
“We showed up for a full 60 today,” Canes coach Adam Wallace said. “The last game on Thursday night, for 40 minutes we played very well. We stuck to our systems and we played the right way. We just didn’t show up to play in the third period. In this league, you have to show up for a full 60 minutes if you want to get a win. The boys did that today and I’m really proud of them the way they bounced back after Thursday night.”
“The effort was totally different,” McGrail said. “Everybody chipped in, did the little things and played their roles. Everybody was going today and it was good to see the boys come together and finally get out of this bad losing streak.”
Sunday, Liam Buckley and Brett Hunter of the Canes netted their first goals of the season, Ryan George scored for the second time this season, Bradley Smith fired in his third and Tyler Harrison scored his fifth of the campaign. Assists were awarded to Payton McLeish, Adrian Iudiciani, Braydon Munn, Mathieu Mercier, McGrail, Ryan Sparkes and Buckley.
The Canes scored the only goal of the first period and stretched the lead to 4-0 by the end of the second period.
Graham Brulotte scored for Stratford with help from former Hurricane Corson Searles on a power play two minutes into the third period.
The Warriors outshot the Canes 45-26 and went 1-for-6 on their power play while the Canes were scoreless on three power plays.
McGrail picked up his second win of the season and it came exactly one month after his first. Andrew Vigliatore was charged with the loss in the Stratford net.
With the win the Canes move to fifth in the Midwest Conference at 7-10-1-2 while Stratford remains second at 14-4-0-0.
The Canes have had several personnel changes in the past three weeks as they tried to overcome an injury bug that left them short forwards.
“It’s been tough with the injuries and the teams, it’s not like we’ve been playing any bad teams,” Wallace said. “We’ve had all the top teams in the league the last month. I’m glad we battled through it and found a way to win, keeping positive and keeping it moving forward.”
The eight-game losing streak included three games against Stratford, two against the defending league champion Elmira Sugar Kings (9-10-0-0), two against the conference-leading Listowel Cyclones (16-3-0-0) and one against the Kitchener Dutchmen (7-11-0-2).
Since the middle of October, the Canes added forwards Seamus Mooney, Myles Cook and Mackenzie Aiken in trades and lost forwards Adel Zivojevic and Cameron Stokes in trades and Jacob Rooke to a season-ending injury. They’ve also used four call-ups.
“We’ve been swapping guys to try to make sure we have a full group of players here because we’ve been struggling with being short,” Wallace said. “It’s tough because if you’re rolling your six forwards or your nine forwards and eventually they’re just going to get tired and worn out. Now that we’re getting guys back in the lineup and we’ve got numbers, it makes it a lot easier as a coach to keep guys healthy and ready to play every shift.”
The Canes are to have a home-and-home with the Waterloo Siskins (10-6-0-1) this weekend as they’re to play at the Sleeman Centre Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex Sunday at 1:30 p.m.
“We have to do exactly what we did today – just do all the little things,” McGrail said. “When we play to the best of our ability, we can beat anyone in this league. We have to keep doing the little things right and make sure the effort is there every night.”
Hurricanes 5 Warriors 1
1. Guelph, Buckley (McLeish, Iudiciani), 8:25
Penalties: N.George Gue (hooking), 1:09; Searles Strat (high sticking), 5:17.
2. Guelph, R.George (Munn), 5:19 sh
3. Guelph, Hunter (Mercier), 7:21
4. Guelph, Harrison (McGrail), 7:59
Penalties: Sparkes Gue (tripping), 4:11; Nicholson Strat (hooking), 12:00; Lebold Strat (hooking), 16:25; Hunter Gue (slashing), 19:27.
5. Stratford, Brulotte (Searles), 2:00 pp
6. Guelph, Smith (Sparkes, Buckley), 10:06
Penalties: Bench Gue (too many men served by Adrian Iudiciani), 1:46; Smith Gue (slashing), 3:44; Gregga Strat (roughing), Mercier Gue (roughing, inciting an opponent misconduct), 5:36; Munn Gue (cross checking), 10:46.
Shots on Goal
Goalies: Vigliatore (L, 26 shots-21 saves), Stratford; McGrail (W, 45 shots-44 saves), Guelph.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Stratford 1-6; Guelph 0-3.
- Guelph Sports Journal