(WINDSOR, ON) – The Windsor Clippers ran roughshod over the Guelph Regals Saturday night in a game where they attempted to turn the page on a nightmarish loss to the Six Nations Rebels.
Playing in front of their hometown crowd, the Clippers wasted little time getting the game going against Guelph. Windsor’s Dylan Riley opened up scoring only three minutes in but was answered by AJ Skirving of the Regals only a minute later.
Then the Clippers asserted themselves. Three quick goals, two from Noah Bushnell and one from rookie Andrew Clark, blew the game open. Windsor finished the opening frame with one more blast from Riley to take a 5-1 lead into intermission.
After the Windsor Warlocks paperweights mini-game delighted the crowd during the break, the Clippers continued the torrent of scoring. Off the opening draw, Brendan Wallace slammed home another quick goal, followed by Alex Mayhead and Chase Kavanaugh to take a six-goal lead.
Liam Holwell broke up the Windsor run 5:27 into the stanza, but rookie Jake Rosa and Wallace each bent the twine to further distance the score. At the midway point of the game, Riley howitzered two more goals into the Guelph net.
Skirving tallied again for Guelph, but Rosa labelled two more blasts past the road team’s goaltender to earn the natural hat-trick. Regals’ goalie Brady Wilson took a seat after Rosa’s second goal, relieved by Tyson McCool, who received a rude welcome from the Clipper rookie on the next play.
Zach Sanders scored for Guelph, soon after, before Windsor captain Andrew Garant ripped the mesh behind McCool. Holwell scored a late goal for the Regals, bringing the score to 15-5 Clippers at the break.
For the third, Windsor coach Jerry Kavanaugh elected to rest rookie goalie Carson Hebner, placing veteran Jacob Corra between the pipes. Holwell started the final act by notching his third goal of the game.
Not long after, Rosa beat McCool again, starting a four-goal run for the Clippers which saw scoring from Nathan Salaris, Bushnell, and Garant. The Regals scored a late unassisted, shorthanded marker to close out the game at 19-7.
“We came back from a big loss last night [against Six Nations] and we just, basically, wanted to go 100 per cent the whole way,” said Rosa after the game. Rosa had an eight-point night against Guelph, adding four assists to his four-goal tally.
“I’ve been struggling lately to score goals,” said Rosa. “Tonight, I was just kinda able to find the net and had a couple good breakaway goals, but that comes from strong D and [my teammates] getting the ball quickly and up the floor.”
For the Clippers, the blowout win was the flip-side of the coin in regards to the happenings of the night before at the Six Nations Reserve. Coach Jerry Kavanaugh stressed the importance of his team keeping their heads in regards to winning or losing big, despite what side of the score clock his team is on.
“The game plan was to keep the pace high; try to keep their defence on the floor and tire them out as much as we could,” said Kavanaugh after the game. “All you can do is forget it and get right back to work. We responded pretty well today, considering the competition we had tonight.”
Hebner made 13 saves in two periods of work for the win, while Corra stopped 11 in the third. The goalie situation for the Clippers has been a game of musical chairs.
“To be honest, I’m looking for one of them to show that they want to be the guy,” explained Kavanaugh. “We’ve had different opportunities for different guys and they’ve had little stretches, but I don’t think any of them’s shown … they can be consistent, they can be the starter for us. One of these guys, at some point, has to say, ‘Ok, I’m ready to take the reins.’ And, until they do that, we’re gonna keep [switching].”
Wilson was credited with the loss for Guelph as he and McCool faced 70 shots on the night.
The night before, the Clippers lost 21-8 to the Six Nations Rebels. A game that needed to be forgotten quickly. Garant, Wallace, and Craig Marentette each picked up two goals in the game, while Riley and Kavanaugh scored singles. Joel Evans took the loss in net.
Captain Andrew Garant sits with the league lead in points after 14 games played. With 94 points, bringing his career total to 462 in five seasons with the team, he sits 31 points behind all-time scoring leader and Buffalo Bandits draft pick Logan Holmes.
Garant and the Clippers are tied for first place, with the Wallaceburg Red Devils, in the Far West Division; two teams which will meet tonight at the Wallaceburg Memorial Arena at 8:00pm.
The Clippers next home game is Thursday when they host the London Blue Devils for the final time this season. Game time is 8:00pm at Forest Glade Arena.