Clippers Battle To First in Far West
(WINDSOR, ON) – The Windsor Clippers improved to a 3-1-1 record in Ontario Junior B Lacrosse League action with a pair of important wins this past weekend.
“A couple good wins,” said Clippers’ head coach Jerry Kavanaugh. “Our defence and goaltending were great in both, the offence did enough to get the win Saturday, then got rolling on Sunday.”
On Saturday, the Clippers hosted a team that had not given them much trouble in recent years, the Guelph Regals (0-2-1), and found themselves up against some hot goaltending.
The Regals’ Brady Wilson came prepared for war and rarely blinked on a night where he found himself bombarded with rubber.
Windsor had their answer by way of sophomore tender Chase Cosgrove, who may not have faced as many shots, but was equally stingy.
The Clippers outshot Guelph by a 15-13 margin in the opening frame, but the goalies’ duel kept the score at goose eggs.
The game was scoreless up until Guelph’s Marcus Keleher shattered the impasse with 6:13 left in the frame. He was answered going the other way with a blast from Windsor’s Zane Dalpe, from Brayden Mayea and Malikye Good, and a laser from Brayden Mayea, from Dalpe and Jack Bulmer.
In the final act, Cosgrove and the defence shut down Guelph, while the Clippers responded with another tally by Mayea, from Dalpe, and a sick edge-of-the-crease one-timer by Jacob McLellan, his first Junior B goal, with helpers from Mayea and Dalpe.
In all, Wilson faced 57 chances in the 4-1 loss for Guelph, stopping 53.
In response, Cosgrove collected two shutout periods and turned aside a solid 25 of 26 attempts to improve his season record to 1-0-1.
“It was a tight defensive battle early on with both offences struggling to score,” said Cosgrove. “I think our defence played great the whole game but especially in the first period. They kept the shots from outside contested, making it easy for me.
“I felt really good going into the game and with the help from my defence, they made it pretty easy for me, especially on the penalty kill. They did a great job picking off passes and not allowing any free shots.”
“We dominated defensively,” said Kavanaugh. “They got nothing on the set-offence or power play. The lone goal was in transition after a bad change by us. Cosgrove was really solid in net.”
The following evening, the Clippers went on a road trip to take on the Hamilton Bengals (1-1).
In a back-and-forth battle, Windsor would come out on top with a 10-7 victory.
The Bengals were the first to get rolling with tallies from Tye Argent and Yvon Bolduc.
Midway through the frame, Bulmer picked up his first Junior B goal on the power play on a feed from Dalpe. Dalpe converted minutes later on a pass from Corey Kerester, followed by a man-advantage marker from Malikye Good with assists going to Dalpe and Darian Delisle.
A shorthanded Jacob Parkinson goal and a marker by Thomas MacDonald gave Hamilton a 4-3 lead into the intermission.
Argent extended that lead early in the middle stanza, but he was replied to by Delisle, from Xander Derkatz and Bulmer, and Mayea, from Kaden Brennan and Derkatz, knotting the game at 5-5.
Argent completed his hat-trick, but his team was quickly overtaken by the Clippers with a fury of snipes from Mayea, Dalpe, and Delisle.
The final three goals had assists going to Brennan, Dalpe (2), Mayea, Matt Fraser, and Kerester.
Derkatz bent the mesh for Windsor early in the third on a play from Delisle and Dalpe, Argent picked up his fourth in response but was bookended by a Delisle power-play marker from Good.
An incredibly chippy game, each team ended up with 14 power plays on 33 total offences, with Windsor being assessed 55 of 101 penalty minutes.
The goalies felt the brunt of these special team situations as the Bengals outshot the Clippers by a 49-44 margin.
Clippers’ goalie Carson Hebner was solid in net, blocking 42 chances to improve his record to 2-1. Lucas Nagy and Mitch Dunham split the loss for Hamilton, stopping 34.
“It’s a big win for us to keep the momentum we’ve built so far,” said Hebner.
“We ran into penalty trouble but plenty of calls were made both ways and our special teams did great on both ends of the floor to ensure we kept the lead we got in the second period.”
“[Sunday] was penalty-filled for both teams,” said Kavanaugh. “Again, the D and Hebner were great. After a slow start, the O had a good second and were able to get us a cushion and keep it.”
Windsor currently sits with the fifth best penalty kill (83.3 per cent) and goals against average (6.20) in the 24-team OJBLL, but have yet to find their footing offensively (19th – 7.20 goals per game) or on the power play (15th – 23.5 per cent).
“This weekend was a huge gut-check for us,” stated five-year Clippers’ veteran and defensive leader Chad Marentette.
“Looking at the schedule earlier in the year, we thought this was gonna be a split weekend, but Sunday our offence really came together and were having no problem finding the back of the net.
“This weekend also proved to our team that we have one of the top defences and goalies in the league. Not only is it nice to get the wins but it’s good for our confidence as a team that even with guys still away at school we can play with good teams like Hamilton.”
Currently first place in the Far West Division, the Clippers will host the Point Edward Pacers (2-3) tonight at the Forest Glade Arena at 8 p.m. and the St. Catharines Spartans (2-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m.