Warriors grab third despite loss to Wheatfield

The Stoney Creek Warriors took over third place despite going .500 in four games played this past week.

On Jan. 3, the Warriors kicked off their busy schedule with an important 4-2 win over the St. Catharines Falcons.

After a scoreless first period, the Warriors took to a 2-0 lead early in the second frame, starting with Adam Montgomery’s goal just 17 seconds into the period. Greg Bryl and Mike Kavanagh picked up the assists. Just over two minutes later, Jason Popek banged one past Falcons’ netminder Steele DeFazio to make it 2-0. Jordan Poole and David Ruberto earned the helpers. The Falcons scored at the 9:11 mark and the period ended 2-1.

Kavanagh scored what proved to be the game winner 48 seconds into the final period, when he tipped in a blueline shot from Cayle Creen. The powerplay marker was also assisted by Bryl. The Falcons made it 3-2 at the 6:13 mark, but Bryl added an empty net goal to give the Warriors the 4-2 final.

The following night, Stoney Creek headed to Niagara Falls and suffered a tough 4-3 loss the the league-leading Canucks.

Down 4-0 in the early stages of the second period, the Warriors battled back and made a game of it. Mitch Merante scored twice and Bryl added a single marker as Stoney Creek fought hard through the second half of the game. Kavanagh, Jake Lyons, Aaron Gorka and Jordan Winger all picked up assists.

Dylan Ellis took the loss in net.

Playing their third game in as many nights, the Warriors scored a come-from-behind win against the Port Colborne Sailors.

After falling behind 3-0 early in the second period, the Warriors found their scoring touch with three straight goals in just over three minutes to tie the game. Andrew Dovey, who returned to the team after a short absence, got the puck rolling with a pretty goal assisted by Jordan Gignac and Gorka. The Kid Line made it 3-2 when Marcus Ruberto scored at the 7:20 mark, assisted by Winger and Merante. At the 9:46 mark, Bryl scored on the power play, assisted by Gorka and Mike Gibson.

The Sailors regained the lead at the 12:53 mark as Miles Torch was sent in alone and beat Ellis to the high blocker side. However, the Warriors responded at the 19:34 mark, as Bryl tallied his second of the night. Gorka and Jake Guidon picked up the helpers on the power play marker.

The Warriors finally took the lead early in the third period, when Merante scored at the 1:32 mark. Jordan Winger and Marcus Ruberto earned the helpers. Port Colborne tied the game just over three minutes later. Kavanagh, with his second game winning goal of the weekend, sealed the win for Stoney Creek as he teamed up with linemates Bryl and Montgomery for a power play marker at the 15:27 mark.

Ellis earned the win in nets.

This past Tuesday, Stoney Creek headed across the border for a tilt with the league’s bottom dwellers, the Wheatfield Blades.

Despite dominating the play, and getting numerous shots on net, the Warriors suffered a tough 4-3 loss to the scrappy Blades. Kavanagh said it was a disappointing loss, but overall it was a good stretch of games for the Warriors.

“Anytime you beat a team like St. Catharines, it feels good,” he said. “The come-from-behind win against Port Colborne was a real character game for our team. The game against the Falls was really close, and could have gone either way.”

The Warriors will have a lighter schedule of games over the next two weeks, with only one contest this weekend against Thorold on Saturday (Jan. 12).

The time off will give Warriors’ netminder Patrick Sullivan time to heal from an ankle injury suffered just prior to Christmas. The team also welcomed back Andrew Dovey, who missed six games for personal reasons. “Anytime you get a player of Andrew’s skill back into the lineup, you have to be happy,” said Kavanagh. “Everyone in the room is happy to see him back.”

Head coach Dan Currie said the team continues to work hard every game, and despite two tough losses, he was pleased with the overall effort. “We could have been 4-0, but in the end we have to stay positive,” he said. “I’m very impressed with how this team is coming together, and how hard they work every night. This team has great character and are a great group of young men.”

The Warriors next home game is Saturday, Jan. 19, when they host the Niagara Falls Canucks. Game time at Valley Park Arena is 7:30 p.m. The Warriors will travel to Port Colborne Jan. 18.