Andrew MacLean made 29 saves as the St. Catharines Falcons edged the Fort Erie Meteors Saturday. Photo by: BILL POTRECZ
Andrew MacLean stole the show in his debut for the St. Catharines Falcons.
The former Niagara IceDogs’ netminder kicked out 29 shots as the Falcons edged the Fort Erie Meteors 2-1 in overtime Saturday night at the Leisureplex in Fort Erie in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League regular season opener for both clubs.
“I thought our goalie was our best player,” St. Catharines head coach Tyler Bielby said. “We were under pressure far more than we would like to be, and he found way to keep us in the game which ultimately led to a stingy 2-1 OT win.
“We will always take a win, but we need to be a lot better. I thought we got away from our game plan and were lost a little out there on the big ice. We will make some adjustments and be ready for Monday night in Thorold.”
Fort Erie coach Nik Passero loved what he saw from his charges.
“I thought our guys came to play and weathered a storm early and then took it to them. Their goalie was great and we couldn’t get a second one by him,” Passero said. “I’m proud of them for coming to play. St. Catharines in your home opener is a tall task and we deserved to pull it off.’
Following a scoreless first period, Steven Katsis gave Fort Erie a 1-0 lead early in the second period before Wyatt Cupelli quickly responded for the Falcons.
Neither team scored in the third setting the stage for overtime where Chris Reid scored just over a minute into play.
“Staff and players were thrilled to see Chris Reid score the OT winner,” Bielby said. “There is no better way for a 16-year-old to score his first junior goal, in his first junior game, than on a breakaway for the game winner. It’s a memory I’m sure he will carry with him for a long time.”
Josh Smith made 25 saves in net for the Mets.
Both coaches were thrilled to get the season underway.
“It was great to play for two points again. Season openers are always exciting. There was an extra sense of excitement around the rink due to the long pandemic layoff,” Bielby said.
“It was great to see all the fans and the building was loud,” he said.
Welland 3 Pelham 2 OT
Zach Kent scored two minutes into overtime to give coach Dave Burkholder a win in his first game behind the bench as the Welland Junior Canadians edged the Pelham Panthers in overtime Sunday in Welland.
Kent and Tanner Ryan had scored earlier for the Junior Canadians.
Jordan Tutt and Cody Miskolczi replied for the Panthers.
Keegan Jackson made 31 saves to pick up the win in goal for Pelham.
St. Catharines at Thorold, 7 p.m.
Thorold at Niagara Falls, 7 p.m.
Hamilton at St. Catharines, 7 p.m.
Hamilton at Thorold, 7 p.m.
Niagara Falls at Fort Erie, 7:15 p.m.
Welland at Caledonia, 7:30 p.m.
St. Catharines at Pelham, 2:45 p.m.
Fort Erie at Welland, 7:05 p.m.
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