Flyers fall to Majors in pre-season action on the road
The Kapuskasing Flyers fell to the Timmins Majors in a pre-season road game this past Thursday. The Kap club hits home ice this weekend for more pre-season action.
Following Thursday’s Great North Midget League exhibition tilt it’s a wonder officials weren’t pulling out their levels to check the ice at the Whitney Arena.
After all, all nine goals scored during the Timmins Majors 5-4 victory over the Kapuskasing Agrium Flyers found the back of the same net.
The Majors put three goals into it during the first period, as they established a 3-0 advantage, while the Flyers potted four second-period markers into the same mesh to take a 4-3 lead. And then the Majors netted the only two third-period goals to secure their 5-4 victory.
Nick Hautanen, Keenan Miller and Adam Kvas got the Majors off to a good start in the first period.
“We came out flying, our legs were going, we were all going as a team and everything was going well,” said Majors assistant coach Matt Tremblay.
“And then, in the second period, we ran into a little bit of rough stuff. We took it too far and put them on the power play and then they buried us a little bit on the power play and they came back in the game.”
The Flyers got a pair of goals from Miguel Costillo and one each from Timmins native Nick Hway and P.A. Leblanc as they stormed back in the second period.
“We just told them to relax,” said Kapuskasing assistant coach Guy Audet, describing what was said in the dressing room between the first and second periods.
“They were a little nervous coming out of the gate and after they realized they could play with Timmins they started to have a little more confidence.”
The Flyers only have four players back from the power-house squad that finished third in the GNML standings during the 2012-13 season and went to the league finals during the playoffs.
“It’s going to be all about trust the first couple of months,” Audet said.
“Trusting your teammates, trusting the system and trusting everything that we will put into place and I think we can have success with that.”
The Majors got the tying goal from Harley McWatch with just over seven minutes to play in the third period and the game winner, on the power play, from Alexandre Brisson with just over three minutes remaining in regulation.
“In the third we knew it was going to have to be a character win and all guys were on board,” Tremblay said.
“Everyone pulled up their socks and jumped on board. We were good to go.
“We were definitely moving our legs way better in the first and third periods tonight. The second period, we stopped and it was evident.
“And on top of moving our legs we put a lot more pucks on net in the first period and the third period. In the second, because we were short handed, we weren’t getting as many offensive chances. It was a lot harder to generate anything.”
Devon Debastos, who has been in camp with the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners of the Northern Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League, went the distance in goal for the Majors to earn the win, while Kurtis David played the whole game for the Flyers and took the loss
Despite the loss, Audet saw a number of positives during Thursday’s game.
“We got contributions from every line and I think that was pretty good,” he said.
“Our goalie played well, so that is something to build off.”
He identified defensive zone coverage as the key area the Flyers will have to build upon.
“We will work on that a lot in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
“After that we will probably work on the forecheck, but I think we will start with D-zone coverage so we don’t lose pucks like their fourth goal tonight.
“We were kind of running around a little bit in our zone and we definitely need to tidy up that.”
Despite the victory, Tremblay feels the Majors still have a few areas to work on prior to the start of the GNML regular season.
“We have to be a lot smarter when the games get rough,” he said.
“We can’t be taking penalties. We are a very good offensive team, so we can’t be putting ourselves down a man over and over again. If we do it’s going to bite us and tonight it almost did. They battled back.”
The Majors are scheduled to open the GNML regular season Friday, Sept. 6, in New Liskeard, against the Cubs.
The Flyers had been scheduled to open their season at home Saturday, Sept. 14, against the Legion 87’s, but the Kirkland Lake franchise has folded.