Regals fade in loss to Orangeville Northmen
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
GUELPH – Another bad period did in the Guelph Regals in Ontario junior B lacrosse league play Friday night in a humid arena at the Victoria Road Recreation Centre.
“It wasn’t our best performance tonight,” Reed Kurtz of the Regals said. “We didn’t play very well and it wasn’t the outcome we wanted.”
The Regals gave up six consecutive goals – one in the final minute of the second period and the others in the third – to fall 11-4 to the Orangeville Northmen.
“It starts right from our goaltending all the way up to our offence,” Kurtz said. “Everyone’s got to be solid. We’ve had parts of games where we’re good in the first period, sloppy in the second and good in the third. If we just play a good game start to finish from our goaltending to our offence, we’ll have success.
“We always kind of fall asleep for one period and that’s unacceptable. We can’t be doing that.”
A fast start to his first full season of junior B lacrosse with 15 goals and 25 assists in his first six games earned Kurtz a little extra attention from the opposition with some teams double-teaming him. That’s resulted in a total of five goals and 11 assists in his last seven games.
“People are starting to key in,” he said. “It opens up other guys and we’re getting a bunch of goals from other people. The goals are being spread through the team.”
The Regals have been slow starters in their last seven games and have often found themselves too far behind to catch up. They have six first-period goals during that stretch and have netted 14 goals in second periods and 17 in third periods. They’ve also had eight scoreless periods in their last nine games.
“We’ve got a lot of talent and hard-working guys,” Kurtz said. “We’ve got to learn to play the full game. Sometimes it might come down to numbers. We’re missing quite a few guys with injuries right now. That’s not an excuse, but we’ve obviously got to start working a little harder and digging a little deeper to play a full game.”
The Regals had 17 players in their lineup against Orangeville, three fewer than the Northmen.
The hosts, who are winless in their last nine games with a tie and eight losses, had scored in the opening minute of Friday’s game, but trailed 2-1 at the end of the first. They were down 6-3 at the end of the second, but they weren’t out of it. However, the Northmen scored a pair of goals 33 seconds apart before the third was three minutes old to put an end to any thoughts of a Guelph uprising in the period.
Jean-Luc Vereecke, Cohen Campbell, Trenten Hitchcock and Zach Sanders scored the goals for the Regals while Reed Kurtz had two assists and Campbell, Carter McGrath, Liam Holwell and Vereecke had one each.
Mitchell Bernier led Orangeville with a four-goal outing. He played three games with the Elora Mohawks last year before being traded to the Regals in the deal that sent A.J. Skirving to Elora. He never played a single game with Guelph before being sent to Orangeville just before the start of this year’s regular season.
Jeremy Searle had a hat trick for the Northmen while Tanner Buck scored twice and Brett Draper and Jake Dithurbide added a goal apiece. Grayson Houghton had four assists and Buck, Matt Cromie and goaltender Keegan Madden had three each, Bernier had two and Devon MacLean, Zach Bell, Alex Beam, Quinten Schneider and Draper had one each.
The Northmen outshot the Regals 64-53 and went 4-for-8 on their power play while the local side went 1-for-6.
Cole Martin made 53 saves but took the loss in net for the Regals while Madden won for Orangeville with 49 saves.
With five games to go in their regular season — four at home and the other one against the Elora Mohawks (11-2-0) Sunday at 7 p.m. — the Regals are 3-11-1 and in 10th in the Western Conference. Top eight qualify for the playoffs and the St. Catharines Spartans (5-8-1) and Owen Sound North Stars (5-9-1) are tied for eighth.
“Hopefully we can go up to Elora, have a good game there and battle with them,” Kurtz said. Then come home for the home-floor advantage for the last four games, hopefully get some points and head into playoffs strong.”
Orangeville is at 9-4-0 and tied for fifth with the Hamilton Bengals (9-5-0).
Last year the Regals were 11th in the conference at 4-16-0.