Guelph Regals special in opening-game victory
ST. CATHARINES – Special teams proved to be the difference as the Guelph Regals opened their Ontario junior B lacrosse league season Thursday with a 6-3 victory over the St. Catharines Athletics at the Bill Burgoyne Memorial Arena.
The Regals struck for two power-play goals – the first two goals of the game – and a shorthanded goal to claim the win. All three of the goals by St. Catharines were scored with the teams playing even strength.
Guelph Regals 6 St. Catharines 3
It was Guelph’s second win in their season opener since 2012 when they edged the Elora Mohawks, their usual opening-game opponent, 16-15 at home that year. They also beat the Mohawks 17-9 at home in 2016 and tied Elora 7-7 at the Victoria Road arena in 2019.
The Mohawks won 10-6 in Guelph in 2015, 13-6 in Elora in 2017 and 11-6 in Guelph in 2018. The Regals also lost 15-8 to the Windsor Clippers at Windsor in 2013 and 16-6 to Windsor in Guelph in 2014.
Thursday, Guelph led 2-1 at the end of the first period and 5-1 after the second.
The Kelehers – Marcus and Ethan – scored twice apiece for the Regals while single goals were added by Julian Siragusa and Hayden Sabourin. Getting one assist each were Ethan Keleher, Tyler Beecraft, Dylan Davey, goalkeeper Dante Mancini, Siragusa, Mason Walton, Aiden Marroni and Dallon Evans.
Levi Roest had a pair of goals for St. Catharines while Nolan Fehr had the other goal. Assists went to Lucas Briscall, Jake Parker and Tyler Stevens.
The Athletics outshot the Regals 56-51, but were held scoreless on nine power plays while Guelph went 2-for-6 on its power play.
Mancini picked up the win in net for the Regals while Oliver Vanyo took the loss for St. Catharines.
The game was the first in league play for the Regals since the 2019 season as the previous two campaigns were cancelled due to the global pandemic.
Of the 20 players suited up for the Regals Thursday, eight saw action with the team in the 2019 regular season. Marcus Keleher played in 19 games that year while Marroni and Cam Wheeldon played in 18 apiece, Siragusa 17, Ethan Keleher 11, Beecraft and Walton three each and Evans one.
Next up for the Regals are three consecutive home games at the Victoria Road arena. In fact, six of their next seven games are home games.
The Regals are to host the Wallaceburg Red Devils Saturday at 3 p.m., Hamilton Bengals April 29, Welland Generals May 6, Elora Mohawks May 11, St. Catharines May 13 and Windsor Clippers May 15. They’re to play at Windsor May 7.
- Guelph Sports Journal