With only five games left before playoffs, the Stoney Creek Warriors must play better than they did last weekend if they have any ambitions of making a serious run at the Golden Horseshoe League title.
The Warriors dropped a 5-4 overtime decision at home to Thorold on Feb. 2, and were beaten handily the following day during a matinee game in Welland against the Canadians. “We have to commit to play 60 minutes of hockey,” said coach Dan Currie. “There just doesn’t seem to be any sense of urgency.”
After falling behind 4-0 last Saturday night against Thorold, the Warriors battled back and tied the game in the dying seconds. Thorold scored midway through overtime to take the two points. The Warriors did earn one point for the OT loss.
The Blackhawks scored twice in the first period and twice in the first half of the second period to jump out to a comfortable lead.
Greg Bryl kick-started the comeback effort when he scored at the 12:29 mark of the second, assisted by Adam Montgomery and Curtis Winger.
In the third period, it was all Stoney Creek, as they pressed the Blackhawks with a steady barrage of offensive opportunities. Andrew Dovey made it 4-2 just over two minutes into the period, when he shot the puck towards the net and it bounced in off a Thorold defenceman. Montgomery connected with Dovey and Mike Kavanagh on the powerplay to pull within one goal.
With the goaltender pulled, and the crowd on the edge of their seats, Jake Guidon’s shot eluded Thorold netminder Rick Scarsella and found the back of the net with just 27 seconds left on the clock. Bryl and Kavanagh picked up the helpers.
Thorold scored at the 2:15 mark in overtime to skate away with the win.
On Sunday, Feb. 3 in Welland, the two teams were tied at 4-4 heading into the final 20 minutes. However, the Warriors ran into penalty trouble and the high-powered Canadians offence cashed in with two early powerplay goals to take a 6-4 lead. Welland added a late goal to make the final 7-4. Scoring for Stoney Creek were Bryl with two and single markers from Mitchell Merante and Kavanagh.
Patrick Sullivan, who returned to the nets after after a full month on the injury list, took the loss in both games. However, Currie said his No. 1 netminder made a number of critical saves and will only get better with more games under his belt.
“We’re just not doing the little things to win,” said Currie, reflecting on the two losses. “We’re not taking care of the d-zone, and we’re not communicating. We need to get back to playing as a team. I have a ton of confidence in this team.”
This weekend, the Warriors are on the road with games against Niagara Falls on Feb. 8, Fort Erie on Feb. 9 and again in Fort Erie, Feb. 13. The Warriors are 10-10-1 on the road this season.
“We have to start winning on the road,” said Currie. “You’ve got to win on the road in the playoffs, and if we stay disciplined and stay out of the box, we will be successful. We have a good team. We’re headed in the right direction.”