Ross hockey boys hit for third consecutive win

Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal

GUELPH – The Ross Royals made it three consecutive wins in District 4/10 high school boys’ hockey play with an 8-3 victory over the Centennial Spartans Friday at Victoria Road arena.

The win streak has shoved the Royals into a tie for fourth place at 3-3-0-0, tops of the four Royal City squads competing in the eight-team league this season. The Orangeville Bears are tied with Ross with a 3-1-0-0 record.

The Royals wasted little time putting their stamp on the game as Adam Best tallied twice in the first six minutes to give Ross a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

“They were lucky,” Best said of his goals. “I just got a nice pass and I scored.”

The Royals were up 3-1 at the end of the first period and stretched the lead to 6-1 by the end of the second.

“That was probably the best two periods of the year for us,” Ross coach Rod Evans said. “We did a great job forechecking and we had them penned in a couple of times. It’s a smaller rink, if you forecheck pretty hard, you create a lot of turnovers. That was about as well as we’ve played, the first two periods.”

The Royals were ahead 8-1, but Centennial closed out the scoring as the Spartans scored a pair of goals 13 seconds apart in the final two minutes of the game.

“It’s hard,” Evans said of the late lapse. “They’re trying to have some fun. It’s hockey. You take your mind off something for a few minutes and bang, bang, there’s two quick goals. It’s a mental lapse and it’s the timing of the game. In the big picture, we’ll take the win and be happy with it.”

The Royals started the season with three losses, all against non-Guelph schools, and have now won three in a row, all against Guelph teams.

“The season started off slow, but now we’re actually getting good,” Best said. “It’s just getting to know each other better and getting chemistry.”

“We had a pretty tough start to our season,” Evans said. “We had CW (Centre Wellington) and Orangeville and Erin and they’re all right up at the top of the standings,” Evans said. “We’ve got a lot of young kids and that’s a rude awakening to the league, but we’ve had some good practices and they’re coming together and they’re playing well. They’re working really hard and we can’t ask for more than that.”

The Royals are a younger squad as Best is one of 10 newcomers on the squad.

The performance gave the Royals a belief that their hard work is paying off.

“Before today I would have said that our forecheck wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be, but they really worked well that way. Our discipline has been good,” Evans said. “Our power play, we’ve got a lot to work on. We didn’t even have a power play today, but we need to work there and neutral zone. We’ve got a tendency to get flat footed and not move and turn it back. We’ve been working on that every practice.”

Calvin Fogler had a hat trick for the Royals while Best and Chris Cabeldu scored twice each and Noah Van Dam added a single goal. Blaise Shaw and Dean Clattenburg each had three assists while Patrick Nyman had two and Jacob Smith had one.

Brody Hlushko, Zach Snider and Ewen Cesar rifled in a goal apiece for the Spartans while Ryan Cole had Centennial’s only assist of the game.

For Ross, the game was their final league match of 2017 and they’ll look to continue their win streak in 2018.

“We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing and score goals,” Best said.

Centennial fell to 0-4-0-1 with the loss, the second in as many days for the Spartans. They’re to finish the 2017 portion of their league campaign Thursday with a game against Orangeville at Centennial arena.