Meteors Win Twice

Sam Tonelli finally got the monkey off his back.

The talented forward scored his first goal in seven games since being acquired from the Port Colborne Sailors at the trade deadline as the Fort Erie Meteors blanked the Pelham Panthers 3-0 Saturday night at the Leisureplex. 

Tonelli, who had 11 goals and 17 assists for the Sailors, had five assists in his first six games for the Mets before finally scoring Saturday.

“Unexplainable,” Tonelli said when asked how it felt. “I’ve been close many times and to finally put one in the back of the net at a key time felt good.”

Tonelli admitted he was starting to think about the situation.

“I was feeling the pressure a little bit,” he said. “How could you not? You’re here to do that thing and you’re not doing it. The pressure was on but I like pressure so it was fine.”

Tonelli is enjoying being a go-to player on a team primed to make a long playoff run.

“I want to be one of the guys. There’s definitely more help here; there’s tons of good players,” he said. “If anyone has a good night we can lead the team.

“Winning a title is something down the road. Winning games now is a new, different feeling and that feels good.”

Meteors general manager/coach Nik Passero was glad to see Tonelli finally find the back of the net.

“He presses hard and he wants it,” Passero said. “We’ve been giving it to him all week to score a goal. I feel for him but he found a way to score one back door on a power play. Our power play needed to put one up and it did.”

John Lloyd made 25 saves as the Meteors turned in another overall solid defensive effort.

“They had a lot of chances in the first where Lloyd shut the door and it could have been a different game,” Passero said. “We’re a stingy team. We don’t give up much. A lot of it has to do with our goaltending but we stick to the game plan and we don’t let a lot in our end and I’m proud of our effort.”

Passero tipped his cap to the Panthers.

“They work hard. They bring it to you. I know their record isn’t probably as good as they would like it to be but early on they were young and trying to find their way. They are tough to play against,” he said.

Pelham coach Zac Rinaldo lamented his team’s inability to finish.

“I thought we lost the special teams game,” he said. “We had multiple opportunities in the first period and throughout the game to go up a couple of goals or to even the score on the power play and we did not capitalize.”

Pelham goaltender Aidan Thomson had a strong effort with 33 saves.

“He’s been great,” Rinaldo said. “He’s a great locker room guy too. Not only is he shining on the ice, but he’s also shining amongst our group as a leader and someone who the guys rally around.”

The Meteors followed up Saturday’s win with a 4-1 victory at Welland Sunday afternoon.

Blake Hall, Kyle Adamo, Cameron Robillard and Georgy Toroptsev scored.

Jack Ryan replied for Welland.

Lloyd earned the win in goal and was backed up by Charlie Burns, back from a stint with the Erie Otters.

Metscellaneous: Charlie Burns and Andrew MacNiel were scratched for the Meteors . . .  Patrick Sutherland, Riley Smyth, Liam McFarland and Luke Breadner did not dress for the Panthers  . . . Fort Erie’s Cameron Thorpe dropped the gloves with Pelham’s Noah Aboflan in the second period. 


Meteors 3 Panthers 0 

Fort Erie forward Sam Tonelli with his first goal as a Meteor.

Fort Erie Meteors: Sam Tonelli (12); Ty Boone (8); Gregory Toroptsev (4).

Pelham Panthers: No scoring.

Game stats: Shots on goal: By Fort Erie on Aidan Thomson (36), by Pelham on John Lloyd (25); Power plays: Fort Erie 1/5, Pelham 0/5; Penalty minutes: Fort Erie 19, Pelham 19.

Attendance: 382

On deck: The Meteors host Caledonia Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.