The Junior C Hamilton Bengals, using call-ups from their minor midget affiliate to bolster an injury depleted roster, made their first road trip of the season a successful venture, downing the Fergus Thistles, 7-3, on Saturday night (May 25) to remain unbeaten.
The win left Hamilton with a 3-0-1 record, good for second place in the Ontario Jr. C Lacrosse’s West Division.
Goaltender Anthony Baboth turned away 25 out of 28 shots, including a heavy barrage in the first period when the Bengals had to overcome two big short handed situations.
Daniel Williams continued to fill the void of last year’s leading scorer, injured Dan Foote, as he had another five point night, scoring two goals with three assists. Rookie Cree Blakely contributed four assists.
Newly acquired Shane Ruddy scored his first goal and added an assist before being ejected at the 23 second mark of the first period for what the referee felt was an attempted butt-ending.
Ruddy has been out of lacrosse for three years but after watching the Bengals first two home games broadcasted on Cable14 he contacted the team’s management. He made his Bengals debut for the team’s home game against Caledon on Thursday (May 23).
On Saturday, Brandon Petter scored his fourth goal of the season into a vacated Fergus net. Petter took a shot from almost half floor just as the Fergus goalie was about to enter his crease.
Hamilton’s defence played a stellar game. The three goals allowed were the lowest of the season. Captain Will Horvatis, Chad McGratton, and Cole Martin did an excellent job of shutting down Fergus’ top scorer who was only able to put up a single point on the night and that came on a breakaway.
On Thursday, last year’s regular season champions, the Caledon Bandits, visited Hamilton but left on the short end of a 6-4 outcome. In their three-year history, the Bengals have beaten the Bandits once and tied them the last time they played.
Goaltender Jason Gibson turned away 38 out of 42 shots on the night.
Williams factored in all of the Bengals goals, scoring once and assisting on the other five.
Elliott McKibbon also had a huge night in his season debut after coming off a broken foot during the off season. He was able to put up two goals and three assists.
Hamilton’s defence was solid after allowing only four goals and holding the division’s top scorer, Mike Rybka, to just two assists. He had been averaging just more than 4 points per game this season.
The Bengals have two home (Lawfield Arena) games this week as they face the 2012 league finalist, the Halton Hills Bulldogs, on Thursday (May 30) at 8 p.m. The Bulldogs are undefeated (3-0) on the season and sit one point back of the Bengals in the standings. On Sunday (June 2) at 4 p.m., the Bengals host the Huntsville Hawks who are winless in four games.