(WINDSOR, ON) – Fueled by a nine-goal opening run and a first period shutout by goalie Joel Evans, the Windsor Clippers lacrosse club emphatically gained a measure of revenge against the Wallaceburg Red Devils on Tuesday night, avenging their previous meeting.
Winning 20-7, on a night where captain Andrew Garant shattered Logan Holmes’ year-old all-time scoring record and blasted himself to a 24-point lead in the Ontario Junior B scoring race, the Clippers showed little mercy. In a typically heated affair between Windsor and Wallaceburg, Evans gave the Clippers a much-needed stonewall between the pipes to build some confidence.
Windsor sailed to a 6-0 first period lead with goals from Brendan Wallace, Dylan Riley, Chase Kavanaugh, Jake Rosa, Noah Bushnell, and Garant. Evans blocked all 15 chances to gain his first shutout period in Junior B action.
In the middle stanza, Kavanaugh, Rosa, and Garant all blasted Wallaceburg’s Noble Jacobs, to extend their lead to nine, before the Red Devils finally broke up the run 7:44 into the act with a goal by Sidney Powless. Garant’s second goal of the game tied him with Holmes for the Clippers all-time points lead at 493.
A quarter-minute later, Riley re-extended the lead to nine on the power play. Just past the midway point of the second, Garant fed the ball to Bushnell, who tossed it to Kavanaugh, and he planted the ball behind Emily Van Damme, who was put in net after Jacobs let in goal number eight.
With point 494, the game was briefly stopped and Clippers’ president and general manager Mike Soulliere came onto the floor to honour Garant with the game ball.
The second buzzer sounded with Windsor leading 13-3. Garant completed the hat-trick and Blain Wallace sniped for the Clippers, while Powless and Kyle Dawson picked up markers for the road team.
In the third, the silly season began as Wallaceburg grew frustrated with the loss. Windsor, for the most part, stuck to the game plan and kept on running up the score. In the end, the Clippers finished with a 20-7 win.
In the final act, Riley led the way with a natural hat-trick and Kavanaugh ripped two more, bringing their goal totals to five and point totals to 10 each. Rookie Jake Rosa completed his hat-trick and Austin Thompson scored an unassisted marker, as the chief draw-man netted his first of the year.
Replying for the Red Devils was Carter Hastings with two, Dawson, and Vern Hill.
“Huge game for us,” said Garant. “We had a big group meeting last Thursday before the London game, just about a big attitude change and our work ethic and what we need to do and what we want to do if we want to make a run this year. The guys had a great game Thursday against London, huge game against Orangeville on Saturday, which was a tough loss by only three seconds, and a big bounce back win [against Wallaceburg]. They kicked our butt in their barn, so it was nice to give it back for sure and hopefully we’ll win the division on Thursday.”
“We knew it was going to be a battle [against Wallaceburg], we knew that all year,” said Coach Kavanaugh after the game. On some of the antics of the third period by their opponents: “That’s just the way they play. Anytime you get up on them early they’re gonna come with the cheap crap, but we’re prepared for it.”
Evans looked solid between the pipes, picking up the shutout period and stopping 39 of 46 shots en route to the win.
“The goalies were struggling early on [in the season], we didn’t really know who wanted to step up and be the starter, but I think Joel, these last couple games, has really taken responsibility and put in the work,” said Garant of his rookie teammate in net.
“We’ve been bouncing [the goalies] around, trying to see who will take the reins,” said Kavanaugh. “In Orangeville, [Evans] maybe had a bit of a slow start, but he had a solid first period and then he was lights out the other two. Today, he was fantastic … we’re going to go right back to him on Thursday [against Point Edward]. If you have two games like that, you deserve a third.”
Jacobs allowed eight goals on 22 chances in the loss, playing just under 24 minutes. Van Damme turned aside 29 of 41 in relief.
The Clippers have technically retaken the lead in the Far West Division and need to win their final two games to clinch. They’re back in action tonight as they host the Point Edward Pacers. The Pacers won the last meeting.
“It’s so huge for the division,” said Kavanaugh on the importance of the game against Point Edward. “This [game] gave us the tie in points as well as the tie-breaker over Wallaceburg for the division. We could hand it right back with a loss to [the Pacers]. We don’t want to do that.“
Also, as it stands, Garant has the opportunity to become the first Clippers to tally 500 points in a career, currently sitting at 497.
Tonight’s game is at Forest Glade Arena at 8:00pm.