Elora Mohawks prevail in tight battle with Windsor
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
ELORA – An Ontario Junior B Lacrosse League match between the Elora Mohawks and Windsor Clippers always feels like a playoff match.
That’s not surprising as the teams have faced one another in the opening round of the playoffs each of the last two seasons, both best-of-five series won 3-1 by Windsor.
“Windsor, they’re always a good battle,” Elora’s Hyatt Welsh said. “They put us out the last two years in the playoffs so more for the veteran players like (Sam) Rooney, (Cody) Stannard, (Klayton) Hoelscher, that’s revenge for them. That’s a good win for us.”
Although there’s about a month to go in the regular season, there was a definite playoff feeling Sunday night at the Elora and District Community Centre as the Mohawks edged the Clippers 6-5.
“The last two years we’ve seen those guys,” Welsh said. “We’ve got no problem seeing them in playoffs again. They’re a hard-working team. They’re veteran guys and we shut them down. Our defence was spectacular tonight.”
“We talked about that before the game,” Elora coach Kyle Goss said. “We knew it was going to be a playoff-style game. Windsor’s a big team. They’ve got some big guys on offence that can make some room for their other guys and we knew it was going to be a playoff-style game right from the start.”
Again it was another game that saw the Mohawks score less than 10 goals, something the team is beginning to accept that it’s just going to be that way this season. Welsh leads the Mohawks in scoring as he’s tied for ninth in the league with with 11 goals and 32 assists in 13 games. Andrew Garant of Windsor leads with 21 goals and 48 assists in 10 games. Welsh had one assist in the game while Garant was held to a single goal.
“Our offence is working,” Welsh said. “Every Wednesday night at practice, our O coaches are helping us out and our head coach Goss. We’re running through plays and we’re working hard. We’ve got to outwork teams. Maybe we’re not the most talented team scoring goals, but we’re going to work scoring goals.”
“With those playoff-style games, you’re not going to see those 11, 12, 13 goals all the time,” Goss said. “Maybe that’s just the way we have to be OK with winning games. Our D and our goaltending are great. Maybe that’s just going to be the way we do things.”
After all, a win is a win.
Elora never trailed in Sunday’s game, but never led by more than two goals. The Mohawks were up 2-0 at the end of the first period and 4-3 after the second.
Dawson Bolger’s shorthanded goal just after the nine-minute mark of the final period proved to be the winner. It gave Elora a two-goal lead at the time, but the Clippers cut the gap to the final one-goal margin with a power-play goal a minute later.
Kurtis Woodland scored twice for the Mohawks while single goals were added by Owen O’Donnell, Justin Beaulieu, Hoelscher and Dawson Bolger. Hoelscher had two assists while Stannard, Curtis Hall, Blake Lewis, Welsh and Woodland had one apiece.
Windsor received a goal apiece from Jesse Macdonald, Jake Rosa, Nathan Salaris, Chase Kavanaugh and Garant. Kavanaugh collected two assists while Austin Thompson, Noah Bushnell, Rosa and Craig Marentette had one each.
The result leaves the young Mohawks at 9-4-0 and Windsor at 7-2-1.
“At the start of the year and even now a lot of people doubted us,” Welsh said. “We’re not supposed to do anything. I like the young aspect. We’ve got a good group of guys in here.”
The Mohawks have a pair of games on their schedule next weekend as they’re to play the Welland Generals (2-8-0) at Welland Saturday at 7 p.m. and host the Owen Sound North Stars (6-6-0) Sunday at 7 p.m.