Thistles knocked out of junior C playoffs
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
FERGUS – The Fergus Thistles saw their Ontario Junior C Lacrosse League season come to a crashing end Friday night at the Centre Wellington Sportsplex when they were dropped 14-5 by the Brantford Warriors in the deciding game of their West Division final.
The win was the second in a row for Brantford and gave the Warriors a 3-2 victory in the best-of-five series. It was also the first time a visiting team scored a win in the series.
“Brantford came out and they came out hot,” Fergus coach Ryan Morrison said. “I feel they just wanted it more.”
Brantford grabbed the lead early in the first period and never gave an indication of letting it go. The Warriors had four goals before the game was eight minutes old and led 5-0 at the end of the first period and 11-2 by the end of the second.
Three goals by the Thistles in a minute – there was also a Brantford goal in there – gave a slight thought of a comeback in the third period, but Fergus was to be held off the scoresheet in the game’s final 15 and a half minutes.
“We were missing the net a lot,” Morrison said. “I feel like a few more bounces could’ve went our way and a few more calls here and there, but at the end of the day Brantford wanted it. They deserved it. They won it.”
Trent Spear had a hat trick for Fergus while Mitchell Bernier and Dean Sealey also scored. Bo Columbus had two assists while Jayden Bushy, Cole Danneman, McCaiden Dixon, Brett Harrison, Sealey and Spear had one apiece.
Ty Argent led Brantford with six goals and two assists while Jayden Drage netted three goals. Caleb Wells scored twice while Michael Comeau, Connor Gillis and Jacob Parkinson each had one goal. Ryan Dorr, Max Lewis, Parkinson, Ethan Riggs and Cole Robillard each collected two assists while Hunter Aggus, Comeau, Drage, Gillis, Tristan Lovell, Connor Merritt and winning goaltender Lucas Nagy each had one.
Bill Wilson took the loss in net for Fergus.
After Fergus grabbed a 2-1 lead in the series with a 13-2 win at home Monday, Brantford squared it with an 11-2 victory in Brantford Wednesday. However, the only similarity between Wednesday’s loss and Friday’s setback was the one-sided nature of the score.
“It wasn’t even the same game,” Morrison said. “We were at least here. Down there, we didn’t show up at all. They made us look silly down there. I thought we’d have an answer tonight, but we just came up short.”
Looking ahead to next season, the Thistles lose three players to overage – Wyatt Carey, Wilson and Hoegy.
“We have three overagers, but it depends on what the (junior B Elora) Mohawks want to take,” Morrison said. “We’re expecting to lose more. That’s our goal at the start of the year, to develop players and make them play at the highest level they can. We don’t like to see players come and keep playing this and get stuck in junior C. We want to see them keep moving forward.”
Ideally, a player would be with the Thistles for two years at the most and then move on to a higher level, most likely with the Mohawks.
“That’s exactly what we’re after,” Morrison said.
Brantford advances to the league’s best-of-seven championship series against the defending champion Clarington Shamrox. Clarington swept the Peterborough Lakers 3-0 in the East final.
Dates for the league final are to be arranged.