(WALLACEBURG, ON) – Once the Windsor Clippers found their stride Sunday night, the Wallaceburg Red Devils found themselves in a deep and insurmountable hole. The Clippers offensive prowess was on full display as they improved to a 2-1-0 record with a 16-12 win over the Red Devils, in Ontario Junior B Lacrosse League action.
Brayden Mayea, Chase Kavanaugh, and Jake Rosa combined for 11 goals en route to the victory.
“I thought the boys played an excellent game all around,” said Mayea after the game. “Offence was putting the ball in the net, doing their job, and the D played a solid game. Our goalie, Carson [Hebner], played outstanding and made some really nice saves to keep us in it.”
Windsor led 5-2 after the first, with goals from Mayea, Rosa, Kavanaugh, Nathan Salaris, and Brendan Wallace. Tanner Cole and Vern Hill replied for the Red Devils.
“Obviously a big rivalry between our teams, so we know what to expect coming into these games,” said Kavanaugh. “We got the start we wanted and felt in control on both sides of the floor. I seemed to get a few more bounces my way and was able to finish on the chances I got. The offence seemed to click tonight and we’re hoping that carries into next game.”
The Clippers kept up the offensive push in the middle act, leaving the period up 13-6. Mayea blasted a natural hat-trick to bring his game total to four, while Rosa and Kavanaugh added two more each and Darian Delisle rounded out the scoring.
Wallaceburg responded with tallies from Hill, Carter Hastings, and a pair from Kyle Dawson.
The Red Devils came on strong in the third, often utilizing power plays and pulling their goalie to enhance their onslaught. Kavanaugh bent the mesh early for the Clippers, but was responded to by Hastings and Dawson twice.
Aaron Dugan broke up Wallaceburg’s run with an unassisted marker at the halfway point of the stanza. The Red Devils went back on the attack with goals from Sidney Powless, Hastings, and Cole. Delisle put the final nail in the coffin with a little under two minutes left.
Hebner was solid in net, turning aside 45 shots for his first win of the season. At the other end, former Clipper Brayden Bell turned aside 43 chances for Wallaceburg.
“We got off to a great start creating a comfortable lead in the first and second period,” said Mayea. “In the third, we took a couple penalties that killed our momentum, but our penalty kill and goalie were able to successfully get us back to even strength.”
Mayea was impressed with the effort of his teammates.
“All around, the boys played outstanding and were able to come out with the win,” he said. “Now that we’re a few games in we’re starting to create more chemistry and working together as a team. I’m looking forward to the season and I think we can make a good run at it.”
Compared to their previous game, a 5-4 loss to the Elora Mohawks in Windsor the night before, coach Jerry Kavanaugh felt his team played “clearly better.”
“We know going into the ‘Burg is always a high intensity, emotional game,” the coach said. “We tried to keep the emotions in check and keep their crowd out of it, they seem to thrive when games get a little chaotic. We limited their offence to outside shots, that Hebner handled, and our offence got rolling early. We got 11 goals out of the left side.”
The night before, Windsor hosted the Elora Mohawks for their home opener. As expected, as in the past, the game ended up being a low scoring affair. After a short feeling out period, Rosa was able to rip the mesh behind Mohawks goalie Landon Kells just under nine minutes into the frame. Mayea tallied soon after to double the lead.
Elora’s Brett Harrison scored two minutes later, but was bookended by another Rosa marker to make the score 3-1. Late in the act, Noah Bushnell was assessed a butt-ending major and a high sticking penalty on the same play.
In the second, Elora’s Dean Sealey cashed in with a power-play marker. Mayea was able to respond for the Clippers with a shorthanded goal, but Harrison tallied again before the penalty ran out to draw the Mohawks to within one.
Late second period goals by Elora’s Ryan Mueller and Ryan Buller sealed the Clippers fate, as the third period ended scoreless.
Hebner kept the score close for Windsor, making 31 saves in the 5-4 loss. Hebner and Kells, who stopped 34 for the win, are former teammates from the Centre Wellington Mohawks.
“[It] was obviously a low scoring game,” said coach Kavanaugh. “I thought our offence played well early, a few undisciplined penalties kept them off the floor for a lot of the second, and they never really got back in a groove. Our D was very good 5-on-5 and Hebner was fantastic.”
The Clippers next game is a big one on Saturday, when they play host to the Six Nations Rebels at the Forest Glade Arena. Game time is 7pm in what is set to be a memorable matchup.