Majors gain revenge on Flyers

Thomas Perry

By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)

Timmins Majors forward Stewart Parnell attempts to stuff the puck under Kapuskasing Flyers goalie Joel Levesque during the first period of Wednesday night’s GNML game at the McIntyre Arena. Flyers defenceman Justin Antoine was able to clear Parnell away from the net before he could succeed, however. The Majors defeated the Flyers 5-3 for their second-straight victory.

Timmins Majors forward Stewart Parnell attempts to stuff the puck under Kapuskasing Flyers goalie Joel Levesque during the first period of Wednesday night’s GNML game at the McIntyre Arena. Flyers defenceman Justin Antoine was able to clear Parnell away from the net before he could succeed, however. The Majors defeated the Flyers 5-3 for their second-straight victory.

Danny Katic set up three goals to lead the Timmins Majors to a 5-3 win over the Kapuskasing Flyers at the McIntyre Arena Wednesday night.

It was the second-straight win for the last-place Majors who moved within one point of the Sault Ste. Marie Thunderbirds for sixth place in the Great North Midget League standings.

Despite the loss, the Flyers remain tied with the North Bay Trappers for second place, one point behind the league-leading Sudbury Nickel Capital Wolves.

“I felt our effort was there throughout the game,” said Majors coach Cedric Bradette.

“Kap matched our effort the last two periods and it was a really good hockey game. The difference was our goalie (Bradley Dobson). Our goalie made the really big saves and we were able to capitalize tonight. That was the really big difference.”

The victory avenged a 7-4 setback the Majors suffered at the hands of the Flyers in Kapuskasing on Nov. 11.

“I think the roles were reversed out there tonight,” Bradette said.

“Up there, we didn’t capitalize on our chances and they capitalized on their chances. They scored seven on us up there, so our defensive zone coverage wasn’t that good.

“We still took too many penalties tonight. We have got to cut that down. It’s two minutes off the clock that you can’t get chances and it gives the other team momentum. Staying out of the penalty box is the biggest thing we have got to work on.

The Majors had a simple game plan heading into Wednesday night’s contest and they followed it to the letter.

“They (Kap) have two Ds who they put out there a lot and we felt if we could wear those two Ds down we could hopefully do some damage,” Bradette said.

“So, we wanted to pretty much dump it in, forecheck and finish our checks and play a two-one-two system.

“We followed it to a T in the first period. Kap gave it to us in the second period and in the third period things kind of evened out with chances at both ends.”

The Majors built up a 2-0 first-period lead on goals by Riley Robitaille and Malcolm Lemaire.

The Flyers battled back to tie things up at 2-2 in the second period, however, on goals by Samuel Bourdages and Jesse Casonato.

It appeared the middle frame would end with the GNML rivals deadlocked, but Jace Soroko scored with just 54 seconds remaining on the clock to provide the Majors with a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission.

Karter Renouf beat Flyers goalie Joel Levesque early in the third period to extend the Majors’ lead to 4-2.

Bourdages’ second goal of the game, scored on the power play, pulled the Flyers back to within a goal a few minutes later.

That’s the way the score stayed until near the midway point in the final frame when Katic skated up to take a draw in the neutral zone and the linesman dropped the puck before he was ready.

The Majors forward recovered the puck soon after he lost the draw and he proceeded to walk through the Flyers’ defence and then slip a centring pass to linemate Stewart Parnell just before circling behind the Kapuskasing net.

Parnell made no mistake and converted the pass by drilling a wrist shot past Levesque to make the final score 5-3.

“Once the play got going, he got the puck and he went one-on-three and deked them all out and then fed his best buddy Stewie there for the goal,” Bradette said.

“It was a nice goal. Katic had three assists tonight, but it’s not all about the points.”

Katic indicated after the game that the face-off loss inspired his solo rush into the Flyers’ zone.

“You have to have a short memory in those kind of times, but obviously it kind of lit a fire under my butt and maybe I worked a little harder on the play,” he said.

Katic enjoys playing on a line with Parnell and Robitaille.

“Me, Stewie and Robi have played together forever,” he said.

“We all work hard down low and we eventually bury it.”

All three of the Majors forwards (Katic at 6-2, 170 pounds; Robitaille at 6-2, 170 pounds; and Parnell at 6-0, 175 pounds) bring a lot of size to the lineup, which certainly helps their cycle game.

“Down low and stuff, we really bully guys around and we really have our way down there,” Katic said.

How happy was the Majors forward to see his team defeat the Flyers Wednesday night?

“All week, in practice, and even coming back from New Liskeard, all we could talk about was getting revenge on Kap and we got it tonight, so we are pretty happy,” Katic said.

Dobson went the distance in goal for the Majors to record his second-straight GNML victory and third-straight counting the shutout he recorded with the Timmins Rock, of the NOJHL, between his other two wins.

Levesque went the distance and took the loss for the Flyers.

The Majors will travel to Sault Ste. Marie for a pair of games with the Thunderbirds on Saturday and Sunday.

What does Bradette feel the Majors will have to do to keep their modest winning streak alive?

“I think we are going to have to play a high-tempo style,” he said.

“We have got speed on our team and we have got a little bit of size. If we keep working the puck down low, getting on their D and keep our feet moving, we will be fine.

“We have got a solid team and when everybody is on the same page we are hard to beat. The boys are starting to believe in themselves and I think we can make our way up the standings.”

Flyers coach Cory Marchand agreed his squad got off to a bit of a slow start Wednesday night.

“The first period, we came out sloppy,” he said.

“We were not moving our feet, not trying to be the first on the puck. Then, maybe with seven minutes left in the first, we started realizing speed kills in this league, so we started skating, kept our feet moving and being first on the puck.

“We were trying to get shots toward the net and we realized rebounds were available most of the time. You need to get dirty goals to win games and we just couldn’t get those goals tonight.”

Why did the Flyers get off to such a slow start Wednesday night?

“It might have been bus legs, but I think more or less it was a long weekend,” Marchand said.

“We played last Wednesday against Timmins and then we went for a three-game weekend in Sudbury. Pretty much the only day off we have had was on Monday, so we may have had a little bit of fatigue in our legs.”

The Kap coach singled out the strong play of Jonathan Lacroix, Bourdages, Brendon Clavelle and Casonato, as well as affiliate player Brad Morin.

“He didn’t get many shifts, but when he was out there he was effective, doing the small things, realizing even if you take a hit and make a dump pass that’s all you need to do to get out of your own zone,” Marchand said.

The Flyers will return to action on Friday, Dec. 4, and Saturday, Dec. 5, when they make a similar trip to play a pair of games against the Thunderbirds.

Wednesday’s summary

Flyers 3 Majors 5

First Period

1. Majors — Riley Robitaille (Lucas Dolanjski, Danny Katic) 3:54

2. Majors — Malcolm Lemaire (unassisted) 10:02

Second Period

3. Flyers — Samuel Bourdages (Jonathan Lacroix) 1:36

4. Flyers — Jesse Casonato (Jonathan Lacroix) 11:48

5. Majors — Jace Soroko (Danny Katic) 19:06

Third Period

6. Majors — Karter Renouf (Evan Kentish-Stack, Jace Soroko) 2:11

7. Flyers — Samuel Bourdages (Jonathan Lacroix, Brendon Clavelle) PP 4:53

8. Majors — Stewart Parnel (Danny Katic) 7:49

Goalies — Flyers: Joel Levesque (60:00, loss); Majors: Bradley Dobson (60:00, win).