Regals, Mohawks battle to a junior B standoff
GUELPH – The Guelph Regals and Elora Mohawks got together and tied one on in Ontario junior B lacrosse league play Wednesday night at the Victoria Road arena.
Both teams left the facility with mixed emotions as they were happy with a point after coming back for the tie, but both squandered leads.
“We’re mostly a new crew this year and we looked pretty good out there,” Regals captain Jack Burke said. “Last year our opening game obviously wasn’t as good as tonight and I think that’s a good prospect for this year so far.”
The Regals suffered an 11-6 loss to the Mohawks in their season opener last year.
“It wasn’t a bad game,” Elora coach Kyle Goss said. “Guelph is a good squad. I don’t think we were quite prepared for the speed they were going to play with, but we showed a lot of character in the third period and the overtime to come back and send it to overtime. You can’t be too upset with a tie.”
It looked like it might have been a runaway for the Mohawks after the scored twice in the opening two minutes of the game before the Regals settled down. For the hosts, the game was their season opener.
“It was our first game playing all together as a team,” Burke said. “”I think it just took us a couple of minutes to get the kinks out and then from there we got back. We slipped a little bit throughout the game, but we mostly help it from there.”
The Regals fought back and tied it before the midway mark of the first period. The teams were tied 2-2 at the end of the first before Guelph ran to a 6-4 lead by the end of the second and the Regals extended that with a goal in the opening minute of the third.
However, the Mohawks pulled even with three goals later in the third to force a 10-minute overtime period that went scoreless.
Goaltender Brady Wilson of the Regals was the busier netminder as he stopped 68 shots while Ryan Fitzgerald turned aside 37 in the Elora net.
The Mohawks outshot the Regals 75-44 including a 39-12 advantage after the second period.
Grant Patterson, Shane Halliwell and Marcus Keleher tallied twice apiece for the Regals while Josh Fairey had the other goal. Halliwell had two assists and Carter TenEycke, Marco Middaugh, Patterson, Cam Wheeldon, Ethan Keleher, Marcus Keleher, Matthew Vilas and Ethan Harkins had one apiece.
The Mohawks received two goals from Logan Cameron and one each from Jayden Bushey (back in Elora after playing with the Regals last year), Zack Cameron, Hyatt Welsh, Nick Aitchison and Dean Sealey. Logan Cameron, Sam Dramnitzke and Aitchison each collected two assists while single assists were awarded to Zack Cameron, Welsh, Jonah White, Nathan Bolger and Sealey.
The Mohawks went 1-for-4 on their power play while the Regals were scoreless on two power plays.
While the game was the season opener for the Regals, it was the third for the Mohawks and all have been away from their home arena, the Elora and District Community Centre.
“It’s a good thing,” Goss said of starting with three consecutive road games. “It’s tough, but that’s the good part about it. It shows us kind of what this league is all about. We started off in Six Nations which was a really tough task, but it helps us build our character and it helps us build our identity as a team, but we are really looking forward to getting home on the weekend.”
Both teams had six players in this year’s game who played in last year’s Elora-Guelph opener. Elora’s total includes Jayden Bushey who played for the Regals last year while their others were Bolger, Cam Coughlin, Sealey, Welsh and White while Guelph’s were Burke, Halliwell, Gavin Lang, Carter McGrath, David Pavlinich and TenEycke. As is always the case early in the season, both had players who weren’t available due to school commitments in the U.S.
“We’re a brand new group, almost,” Goss said. “We’re really happy with the group that we have. We know that we have a lot of work to do, but we’ve had a good start. We’ve got a lot of guys who are getting the opportunity now and a lot of the guys are running with it.”
The Regals come out of their opener knowing some of the areas of their game that need attention.
“It’s more communication on the floor,” Burke said. “We’ve got to work on calling our switches, calling our passes and just more of those technical terms. Other than that I think we’re off to a great start.”
This year the Mid West Division has a bit of a different look. The Orangeville Northmen have been moved to the South East Division while the Hamilton Bengals move in to take their place.
Elora leads at 1-1-1 while the Regals are at 0-0-1 and the Owen Sound North Stars are at 0-1-1. Hamilton is to open its season Friday night.
“We’re .500 and with the turnover that we’ve had, and we’re trying not to use that as an excuse, we are very happy to be .500,” Goss said. “We’re learning as we go here and we’ve been doing a pretty good job so far.”
The Regals have a pair of road games this weekend as they’re to play the Windsor Clippers (1-1-1) Saturday night and the St. Catharines Spartans (1-1-0) Sunday night.
The Mohawks are to get their first home games of the season as they’re to host the Niagara Thunderhawks (0-0-0) Saturday at 6 p.m. and Owen Sound Sunday at 7 p.m.
Regals 7 Mohawks 7
1. Elora, Dean Sealey (Logan Cameron) 1:17
2. Elora, Logan Cameron (Sam Dramnitzke) 1:45
3. Guelph, Grant Patterson (Shane Halliwell, Marco Middaugh) 8:09
4. Guelph, Marcus Keleher (Ethan Harkins) 9:10
Penalties: David Pavlinich Gue (roughing), 1:17; Jack Burke Gue (high sticking), 7:20; Jacob Black Elora (high sticking), 7:54; Logan Cameron Elora (illegal cross checking), 11:35; Grant Patterson Gue (roughing), Owen Ristov Elora (roughing), 16:09.
5. Guelph, Josh Fairey (Matthew Vilas, Carter TenEycke) 1:16
6. Guelph, Shane Halliwell (Marcus Keleher, Grant Patterson) 4:00
7. Elora, Nick Aitchison (Nathan Bolger) 10:21
8. Guelph, Grant Patterson (Shane Halliwell) 15:04
9. Elora, Logan Cameron (Zack Cameron, Dean Sealey) 18:22 pp
10. Guelph, Marcus Keleher (Ethan Keleher) 19:49
Penalties: Forrester Bristol Gue (slashing), 1:43; Kaz Nizielski Gue (too many men), 17:00.
11. Guelph, Shane Halliwell (Cam Wheeldon) 0:49
12. Elora, Jayden Bushey (Logan Cameron, Hyatt Welsh) 5:51
13. Elora, Zack Cameron (Nick Aitchison, Sam Dramnitzke) 11:12
14. Elora, Hyatt Welsh (Jonah White, Nick Aitchison) 13:18
Penalties: Grant Patterson Gue (roughing), Travis Weber Elora (roughing), 7:24.
Shots on Goal
Goalies: Ryan Fitzgerald (T, 44 shots-37 saves), Elora; Brady Wilson (T, 75 shots-68 saves), Guelph.
Power Plays (goals-chances): Elora 1-4; Guelph 0-2.
- Guelph Sports Journal