Young Mohawks stop Orangeville Northmen
Rob Massey, Guelph Sports Journal
ELORA – Rookie Landon Kells received his second consecutive start in net for the Elora Mohawks and he responded by turning aside 44 shots as he helped the Mohawks double the Orangeville Northmen 8-4 in Ontario junior B lacrosse league play Sunday night at the Elora and District Community Centre.
“I really don’t have any complaints about wither one of our goaltenders,” Elora coach Kyle Goss said. “We decided to go with Kells tonight. He had a really good game yesterday in Point Edward and we decided to reward him for it and he showed it again tonight.”
Kells kept the Northmen scoreless in the first and third periods and was grateful for the help he got from his teammates when Orangeville cut the gap to a single goal early in the second.
“The toughest save, there wasn’t really one because the defence kept them to a really easy shot,” he said. “I’ve got to give credit to my defence. They made it pretty easy for me to make the easy saves. I’d say all of them together were just technical goalie stops that the defence helped me make.”
Elora led 4-0 at the end of the first period, but Orangeville had the gap down to a goal before the second period was six and a half minutes old. However, the Mohawks responded with a pair of goals to keep the lead. The hosts were up 7-4 at the end of the second period.
“The offence bailed us out when they scored three goals,” Kells said. “They’d go out and pick the defence back up and they’d go out and do their jobs, keep them to the easy shots.”
Orangeville outshot the Mohawks 48-31 and went 1-for-4 on their power play while Elora went 2-for-3.
Cody Stannard led the Mohawks with a hat trick while Ryan Mueller scored twice and Eric Egan, Ryan Buller and Jack Francis added one goal apiece. Owen O’Donnell assisted on five of the goals while Egan had two assists and Stannard, Mueller, Buller, Francis, Kevin Hutchison and Nathan Bolger each had one.
Shane Hillis had two goals and two assists for Orangeville while single goals were netted by Jarett Petrie and Tanner Buck. Mike Sutton had three assists and Grant Scott and Riley Armstrong had one each.
For Kells, the game was his second start in as many nights as he got the call in a win over the Point Edward Pacers in Point Edward Saturday night.
“Just when a goalie’s hot, he’s hot,” Kells said. “I’m sure that throughout the year, Hump (Humphrey) our other goalie, he’ll be hot and it’ll be my turn to open the door and encourage him when he’s in net.”
Kells is in his first season in junior B after playing midget in Centre Wellington last year.
“Definitely last year with coming in for an AP (affiliated player) game it helped me get my feet wet, but the team’s made me feel real welcome and made it an easy transition because of how well they’ve been playing around me,” he said. “I just like to give it back to them.”
The loss was the first of the season for Orangeville following three wins while Elora ups its record to 3-2-0.
The game was the third in four days for the Mohawks, a tough assignment early in the season. They won two of the three, starting the stretch with a loss to the Owen Sound North Stars at Owen Sound last Thursday.
“It’s a tough go,” Goss said. “It’s nice, but it’s a tough go. They’re not quite in full game shape yet so it was a battle.”
The Mohawks also know they have things to work on as they progress through the season.
“We’ve definitely got to keep the ball moving on the offensive end,” Goss said. “If we hang on to it, Orangeville pressured us hard. They doubled the ball and we got into some trouble and that’s what kind of slowed us down offensively. I think keeping the ball moving and the feet moving. Sometimes we get a bit lazy and that’s going to be a constant battle for us, but when it works, it works and when we don’t, it kind of costs us a bit. But overall, it was a good win for us.”
The Mohawks have home games on back-to-back nights this week as they’re to host the London Blue Devils (0-6-0) Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Arthur arena and Owen Sound North Stars (2-2-0) Sunday at 7 p.m. at the Elora and District Community Centre.