Meteors Clinch 2nd with OT Loss

The St. Catharines Rankin Construction Falcons and Fort Erie Meteors put on a show Friday night.

Playing before a season high 743 fans at the Seymour-Hannah Sports Complex, the two teams battled for more than 60 minutes in one of the season’s most entertaining, fast-paced and hard-hitting affairs.

When the dust finally settled, it was the Falcons who emerged victorious with a dramatic 3-2 overtime win courtesy of Dylan Pergentile, who netted the winner just over two minutes into the extra frame.

“It feels awesome, a packed crowd and an important game,” said Pergentile, who was mobbed on the ice following his winner. “We’ve been battling with Fort Erie all year so it’s great to get that win against them.”

The overtime point clinches second place for the Meteors while the Falcons will now finish in third in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League standings.

Falcons general manager/coach Tyler Bielby loved the competitive nature of the game with the playoffs on deck next week.

“Every game the last few weeks has been about making sure we’re feeling good and ready to go into that first round and tonight was no different,” he said. “I think this was our biggest crowd of the year which was nice to see and we really appreciate the support. That was the chat between second and third and even before overtime. Look at all these people here to see you play and we left the ice feeling good.”

Looking ahead — which coaches are normally loathe to do — the Falcons and Meteors could very well meet in the second round of the playoffs. 

“Congrats to Fort Erie on a historical season for them and we’ll be ready to hopefully see them soon,” Bielby said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’ve had some good games with them this year, two teams that really want it. There’s great hockey players on both sides of aisle and it will make for an interesting round if we see them.”

Pergentile, too, would welcome the challenge.

“I think we’re two hard-working teams. We both want it and have skilled players, both very well built teams for the season and into the playoffs. It brings the best out of everyone,” he said.

Fort Erie general manager coach Nik Passero concurred.

“They’re fast, we’re fast. Both teams defend hard and I think a lot of people will want to tune into that one,” he said. 

Passero was thrilled for his charges who set a franchise record for wins in a season with one game left to play.

“First time in 25 years second place so great for our group,” he said. “Obviously first is out of reach now which kind of sucks but we had to hope some other things happened anyway.”

Passero had no qualms with his team’s effort Friday.

“I’m pretty proud of our group tonight. I thought we were good, really understaffed,” he said. “They took a few of our guys out early and we were back to four D there for the third period but our guys battled hard and just couldn’t find a way to finish it there but I’ll take our point and head home.”

The Meteors will meet the Port Colborne Sailors in a best-of-seven quarter-final series which is tentatively slated to open Saturday, March 9 in Fort Erie. The Mets finish up the season at home Saturday versus Hamilton at 4:30 p.m.

The Falcons will square off with the Pelham Panthers to wrap up the season Sunday afternoon in Pelham before hosting the Panthers in their series which will likely begin Friday, March 8 in St. Catharines.

“We’re playing Pelham in the first round so it’s important we practice good habits and be ready to play,” Bielby said. “You don’t want to create bad muscle memory and a week later it costs you.”

Falcon facts: Owen Simpson, Caleb Thompson, Jordan Marconi and William Moore were scratched for the Falcons . . .  Nolan Stickland and Ryan Robillard did not dress for the Meteors . . . The Mets lost defenceman Andrew MacNiel early in the third period following a collision with the Falcons Tyler Hunt, who was given a five-minute kneeing major on the play. The Meteors scored once on the major . . . The Sailors topped the Panthers 4-2 Friday to conclude their regular season in last place with a 12-33-4-1 mark.


Falcons 3 Meteors 2 OT

St. Catharines Falcons: Brenden Anderson (23); Dylan Pergentile (21); Mathew Hlacar (16).

Fort Erie Meteors: Dominic DiFrancesco 2 (7, 8).

Game stats: Shots on goal: By St. Catharines on Charlie Burns (36), by Fort Erie on Hayden Jeffery (32); Power plays: St. Catharines 0/4, Fort Erie 2/5; Penalty minutes: St. Catharines 31; Fort Erie 16.

Attendance: 743.

Up next: The Falcons are in Pelham Sunday for their last regular season game at 2:45 p.m. The Meteors are home to Hamilton Saturday at 4:30 p.m. to conclude their season.

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