(WINDSOR, ON) – The Windsor Clippers Junior B lacrosse team are presently picking up momentum as the season rolls on. Donning their brand new golden home jerseys, the Clippers hosted the Welland Generals and Wallaceburg Red Devils for their home opening weekend this past Saturday and Sunday.
Windsor’s blistering offense scored 32 goals over the course of the two games as they beat Welland 18-4 and Wallaceburg 14-8, respectively.
The Clippers got things rolling early against the Generals as Andrew Garant dented the twine twice in the opening six minutes. Halfway through the first frame, Ryan Marchand added to the lead and scored again in the final minutes while shorthanded.
Brayden Bell, goaltender for the Clips, picked up the shutout period, but was rarely tested.
In the first nine minutes of the middle stretch, the Clippers pumped Welland for five more goals. Patrick Kaschalk picked up the first snipe, just 82 seconds in, followed by Marchand and Chase Kavanagh, before Kaschalk struck again.
Austin Thompson blasted one with 11:08 to go in the frame to finish the run and make the score 9-0.
Generals’ goalie Dylan Busby-Carver was chased from the net in favour of back-up Nick LaBrash.
Bell’s goose egg was popped at just over 29 minutes by Welland’s Jack Miller on delayed penalties to Windsor’s Chad Marentette and Steve Jaworski. The Clippers would kill off Marentette’s major with little trouble, ending the period 9-1.
As the third stanza opened, it only took captain Logan Holmes just 22 seconds to crack the twine and get the Windsor offense rolling again. Welland’s Mitchell Geoffroy answered back less than a minute later, but Clippers affiliate Darian Delisle picked up his second goal of the season soon after, to stymie any of Welland’s momentum.
LaBrash, inundated by the Clippers’ aggressive marksmanship, started to show cracks in the final twelve minutes. Windsor lambasted the visiting tender, netting 7 more goals before the game was through.
Scoring for the home team was Garant and Josh Jubenville with a pair each. Alex Mayhead and Blain Wallace picked up single markers, while Kaschalk scored one more to finish his hat-trick.
The Clippers, scoring at will, were less focused at the defensive end. Geoffroy put a squeaker past Bell midway through the final stretch, while Miller was able to notch another in the final minutes on a 2-man advantage.
Bell made 18 saves for the victory, while Busby-Carver stopped 17 of 26 and was credited with the loss. LaBrash was peppered with 44 shots in only 31 minutes of play in relief.
Holmes and Garant have made a habit of massive offensive outputs early this season. Holmes collected 9 assists with his lone goal, while Garant blasted the Welland goaltenders with 4 goals in a 9 point night. Both Marchand and Kaschalk picked up hat-tricks and multiple assists.
Kaschalk has been a picture of quiet consistency, on transition, for the Clippers. In his third full-time season with Windsor, he has averaged just under 5 points a game and has yet to take a penalty. No. 19 scored 3 goals on Saturday night and added a trifecta of assists to boot. He would duplicate the feat on Sunday.
“It was a good effort,” he said after Saturday night’s win. “We tried to come back from a loss last [Sunday].”
Kaschalk referred to their only defeat so far, at the hands of the Niagara Thunderhawks.
“We wanted to go a little extra hard just to get everything done with the least amount of mistakes possible,” he continued. “I got the ball in some good spots thanks to my guys. Everything goes to the passes that I got and I got lucky a couple times.”
Wallaceburg Red Devils
On Sunday evening, the Red Devils, long-time rivals of the Clippers, rode into town. Windsor spoiled Wallaceburg’s home opener on April 24 and the Red Devils came out determined to return the favour in the rubber match.
Clippers’ veteran goalie Mike Cameron took to the pipes and quickly found himself pinned down by his opponents. Only a minute in, Cory Lucier ripped the first goal of the game past Cameron, followed by Brock Daugherty a minute later.
Down 2-0 early in the game, Jubenville found himself in the box and his team down a man. Wallaceburg started the power play with possession, wore down the shot clock, and hammered a shot at Cameron.
Rather routine to this point.
The Clippers picked up the ball and entered the Red Devils’ zone. Penalty killing specialist Garant set up at the top-left of the zone, then nothing happened.
A confused Windsor squad casually walked the perimeter of the Devils’ zone, while Wallaceburg refused to press the ball. Content to sit back and waste their remaining advantage, Wallaceburg would not engage despite the cat-calling from both the crowd and the Clippers’ bench.
This was a recurring theme throughout the night and is a repeat of the what happened in the season opener. Although boring and confusing to watch, the Red Devils were actually engaging in a smart tactical manoeuvre.
Sitting back and trapping on the power play is virtually unheard of in any sport, but it may have been understandable under the given circumstances.
Garant, who had an uncharacteristically quiet night, is a spark plug on the penalty kill for the Clippers. His possessions, while down a man, are a thing of beauty. With no opportunity to do his thing, which normally ignites his teammates, Wallaceburg no doubt thought they could take Garant and his team off their game.
Initially, it worked.
Seven minutes into the game, Kaschalk put the Clippers on the board. Seconds later, Windsor’s Austin Thompson was given a double minor for checking from behind. True to form, the Red Devils worked the clock and scored on the initial possession.
With the power play shortened, the Clippers picked up control off the face-off, and drove to the Red Devils zone. Garant stood atop the the shooting circle unopposed, awaiting the challenge that would not come for the remainder of the Wallaceburg advantage.
When Thompson’s infraction expired, the Clippers went to work. Windsor pressed the Devils’ defense and, before the possession could expire, Blain Wallace lit the lamp to bring Windsor back within a goal. Right off the draw, the Red Devils pushed to Windsor’s net and Kyle Dawson regained the two-goal cushion.
With their composure dampened, Windsor struggled to regain their footing, but they battled all the way back. Delisle and Holmes would score before the period had run its course to draw the game at 4.
A determined Clippers squad returned to the floor for the middle frame. Red Devils’ goalie Eric Shepley barely knew what hit him, or in this case, what did not.
Windsor would go on a six-goal run to dominate the period, blowing this game wide open. Chase Kavanaugh led the charge with a pair of snipes, followed by Mayhead, Blain Wallace, Thompson, and Marchand with singles.
Cameron came within 48 seconds of a shutout period as Wallaceburg’s Evan Mathany found the net, scoring in an attempt at redemption after a disastrous period for the road team.
Windsor led 10-5 after two.
The teams traded haymakers to start the final stretch. Holmes sniped at 6:38 and Noel replied at 7:10. In the later half of the stanza, Kaschalk blasted two shorthanded breakaway goals past Shepley, only 41 seconds apart, to put the game well out of reach.
Brayden Fischer and Daugherty would nail a pair of power play markers in the dying minutes for Wallaceburg.
Liam Leclair was awarded a penalty shot with only 3 seconds remaining in the match after being obstructed on a late breakaway. The Clipper defender made no mistake as he got Shepley to drop his shoulder on the high shot, ending the game with an exclamation point.
Cameron made 28 saves for the win, while Shepley was challenged 53 times at the other end.
“We came out a little slow,” said Cameron, a University of Guelph student, after the victory. “You can’t come out slow and do nothing about it. We were really lucky to be 4-4, we had to come out and start the game all over again. For me, a big part of it was forgetting about the [first two] goals. Goalies and quarterbacks have to have a short memory.”
In his last year of eligibility as a junior, Cameron is relishing the role of the elder statesman even if it means backing up Bell.
“It’s important in my fifth year, I know I am not going to be the starting guy and I knew that coming into the season,” he said. “But, I want to get the wins in and I want the team to know that I am the kind of guy, that need be, they could rely on.”
The Clippers are well in the lead of the Far West Division with a 4-1 record, while Wallaceburg has slipped to third with two wins in five game.
“We prepared really well [for] these guys. A big part of it is how much we hate them,” Cameron jested. “It’s one of those things. It means everything to us to beat these guys at home.”
Windsor’s next action is Friday night in Point Edward before returning to Forest Glade Arena on Saturday at 7:00pm to host the undefeated Six Nations Rebels.