Falcons move back to top of boys’ hockey loop
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – The Centre Wellington Falcons regained sole possession of first place in the District 4/10 high school boys’ hockey league standings with a 3-2 victory over the Centennial Spartans Thursday at Centennial arena.
“It ended up close by the end,” Centre Wellington coach Murray Skerritt said. “It’s hard playing in this rink when it’s so small and stuff. It’s hard getting shots away, but territorially, we played pretty well and pretty sound. We didn’t make a whole lot of mistakes in the offensive zone, which is good, but we just couldn’t score today.”
For the Falcons, who stress defence and are the only team in the league with a goals-against average of less than 2.00 (it’s 1.20), the margin of victory could’ve been larger, but ran up against a hot goaltender in Centennial’s Aiden Eastwood, especially after the first period.
The Centre Wellington defence turned offensive in the game.
“The defence got all three goals,” Skerritt said. “That’s good for them and it’s good to have a variety of options to score off of.”
Part of stressing defensive play for Centre Wellington is stressing a strong forecheck.
“We like to pressure and we like to take time and space away,” Skerritt said. “The idea is that you go hard for 40 seconds, get off and the next guy’s going. Teams that come in waves are usually strong and that’s what we want. We don’t want any shifts off and we just go at them and take their time and space away.”
The Falcons led 2-0 at the end of the first period and 3-1 after the second.
McCaiden Dixon, Caleb Willmets and Johnny Bauman scored for Centre Wellington while Mitch Bernier, Hayden Ireland and Jayden Bushey had assists.
Jake Neamtu and Zach Snider collected the goals for Centennial, Snider’s goal coming with 57 seconds to play. Ryan Cole assisted on both goals while Snider and Connor Zettle each had one assist.
The win was Centre Wellington’s fifth in as many league outings.
“It’s been slow as far as the number of games so far, but it’s been going well so far,” Skerritt said. “We’re happy and we’re still building and we’ll get there.”
The Falcons are fairly veteran squad with 16 players back from the team that finished as silver medalists last season after going 8-1-1-0 in the regular season.
“We don’t have a lot of new faces so it’s good that we can just build off of what we built up last year,” Skerritt said. “It’s good. They know how we like to coach and how we like the game to be played so it makes it a little easier that way.”
The loss dropped Centennial’s record to 0-3-0-1.
The game was the final pre-Christmas league game for Centre Wellington while Centennial is to play the Ross Royals at the Victoria Road arena Friday afternoon and host the Orangeville Bears at Centennial arena next Thursday.
Guelph CVI 3 Bishop Macdonell 2
Alex MacIntyre, Nate Stemerdink and Cam Ison scored a goal apiece for GCVI. Assists went to Lucas Cross, Rhys Collins and Colin Livingston.
Cole Martin struck for both goals for Bishop Mac. Nate Hamilton, Trent Diciccio and Reed Kurtz each had one assist.