Holidays provide Flyers with little respite as they lose 4 straight
The Goderich Orr Insurance Flyers played four games over the Christmas and New Year’s in Provincial Junior Hockey League action and lost them all, two to the Wingham Ironmen and two to the Hanover Barons.
The Fl ye rs were defeated 3-1 and 5-4 in overtime in games in Wingham on Friday, Dec. 30, 2016, and Friday, Jan. 6, 2017. They lost 3-2 in Hanover on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017, and 6-3 at the MRC Saturday, Jan. 7.
One bright spot for the Flyers was the selection of goaltender Nathan Watson as the PJHL Miller Insurance Goaltender of the Month for December. Watson had a 2- 2- 1 record for the month with a save percentage of .900.
In the first game with Wingham, defence man Morgan Benniwies celebrated his return from an injury with a first period goal for the Flyers, but that would be the only God erich goal of the game as the team failed to take advantage of several power play opportunities. Logan Tolton, Josh Stewart and Bailey Boyes scored for the Ironmen. Stewart’s goal was a short handed effort.
Both teams came into the game off big victories, the Flyers having defeated the second place Mitchell Hawks, andthe Ironmen having triumphed over the league-leading Walkerton Hawks, but the Ironmen prevailed in the battle of the two bottom teams in the Pollock Division standings. Flyers coach David Errington had high praise for affiliated player Tanner Stevenson who showed he can play at the junior level.
The Fl ye rs second loss to the Ironmen was in a game the Fly er shad a golden chance towin. They led 4-1 halfway through the game on goals by Tyler McCracken, Ryan Stulp, his 20th of the season, Riley Connors, shorthanded, and defenceman Trent Bell. At that point, the Ironmen pulled goa lie Alex Metzg er, replacing him with former Flyer Pat Do who blanked the Flyers the rest of the way. Logan To lt on and Bailey Boy es brought the Ironmen to with in one by the endof the secondperiod and Shane Vollmer scored the only goal of the third to force the overtime. Greg Scott got the winner for Wingham five minutes into the extra session.
In Hanover, the Flyers went into the game with a short bench due to injuries and suspensions and players being away for Christmas.
For two periods, the game featured a goaltender’ s battle between the Flyers’ Branden Bean and Wingham’s Braeden Ellis, which sent the game into the third period scoreless. The Barons came out strong in the third with two goals in the first two minutes and then added another to take a commanding 3-0 lead. Matt Shields got the first two Hanover goals and Jarrett Kuntz added the third. Then the Flyers went to work with Riley Connors scoring on a play with Noah Kuno and Drew McKee. They pulled to within one goal of the Barons when Tyler Stacey and Ryan Stulp cycled the puck down low until they found Tyler McCracken alone in front and got the puck to him. McCracken quick release beat Ellis to make the score 3-2.
Stulp came with in inches of tying the game with three minutes remaining when he rang a bullet drive off the post and the Flyers continued to buzz the Barons’ net until the horn ended the game with the Barons holding on to their one goal lead.
The Flyers played the game with only two regular defence men in their lineup. Trent Michie filled in admirably on the blueline along with two newly signed affiliated players, Justin Rodgers and Cole McKee.
The loss at home to Hanover had a lot to do with power plays and penalty killing. The Barons went 4-5on their power play opportunities while the Flyers went 0- 5. Baron’s goalie Braeden Ellis had a big hand in that department turning aside all the quality chances the Fl ye rs were able to manufacture. The Flyers outshot the Barons 36-32 and actually led 3-2after the first period, but the Barons scored two unanswered powerplay goals in each of the second and third periods to win6-3.
Tyler McCracken, Trent Michie and defenceman Morgan Benniwies had the first period markers for the Flyers. Assists were credited to Wyatt Carey, Brodie Tenpas and Drew McKee.
Jarrett Kuntz scored the two first period Baron counters while Cole Lesley got two power play goals in the second period and Jared Lies emer and Justin Graham made good on power play opportunities in the final frame.
The four losses leave the Flyers in the PJHL cellar, a full 10 points behind the improving sixth place Wing ham Iron men who defeated the first place Walker ton Hawks again, 5-4, in overtime Saturday.
The fourth place Barons are two points behind the third place Kincardine Bulldogs.
The Flyers will play at home again at the MRC Saturday, Jan. 14, at 7:30 p.m ., versus the second place Mitchell Hawks after playing in Walker ton Friday against the first place Walkerton Hawks.