Junior ‘B’s top Waterloo, Brampton to take early share of Midwest lead
BY DAN MCNEE
BRAMPTON – The Listowel Cyclones have been doing the little things right early on in the 2014-15 GOJHL season, and that has translated into a very successful start for the Junior ‘B’ club.
Listowel (5-1-0) topped the Waterloo Siskins (5-1-0) and the Brampton Bombers (0-6-0) on the weekend, as the Cyclones extended their winning streak to four games and grabbed an early share of the Midwestern Conference lead with 10 points. With the exception of the 8-2 blowout loss to Elmira on Sept. 14, the Cyclones have allowed two goals or fewer in the other five games they have played so far this campaign.
“It’s not an individual thing by any means – it’s our general team concept,” said Listowel assistant coach and former New York Rangers defenceman Jeff Bloemberg. “Our motto, our mantra, is defence first. At times with younger guys, they are going to struggle with that, they are going to forget.
“For the most part, we’ve done this long enough and the kids know when they’ve done things wrong so you don’t have to say as much, and they’re making less and less mistakes.”
On Friday at the Memorial, goaltender Ryan Hergott was brilliant in his first game against his former team and centre Ben Van Ooteghem had a goal and two assists as the Cyclones shut down the previously undefeated Siskins 4-1.
Co-captain Derek Elliott had a goal and an assist and Caleb Warren and Riley Robertson also scored for Listowel. Hergott turned aside 30 shots to improve his record to 3-1-0, and was especially outstanding during the second period when his team got into penalty trouble and the Siskins were swarming the Listowel net.
“It was a good game – it was huge for me,” said Hergott. “I was battling for a spot last year to start, and I didn’t really get the opportunity I was hoping for. Now to be able to step in as the No. 1 and pull something off like that was awesome.”
“This was a big night for him,” said Bloemberg of his netminder. “I think he was a little bit nervous in the beginning, but in the second period we were only in that game because of him. He made some fantastic saves. We’re very, very happy with the way he has been playing.
“He grabbed that No. 1 job with both hands and ran with it.”
Listowel opened the scoring at 7:13 of the first, when Tim Nauta was stopped by Waterloo goalie Evgeny Kiselev and Elliott was there to slap home the rebound. The Siskins would tie the game before the end of the first, however, when Chase Campbell was able to sneak a low shot through Hergott’s five-hole during a Waterloo power play.
But Van Ooteghem would get the eventual game winner only 46 seconds into the middle frame, re-directing an Elliott point shot past Kiselev.
Friday’s game also marked the debut of defenceman Corey Flemington, formerly of the Guelph Hurricanes. The Cyclones signed him after it was revealed that Keaton Willis would be missing time with a lower-body injury.
Flemington landed some big hits and had two PIM in his first game with Listowel.
Bloemberg said that his right-handed shot, ability to move the puck quickly and skill at reading the rush would be beneficial on the Listowel blue line.
“He’s buying into the system and working hard,” said Bloemberg.
Despite being heavily outshot 15-8 in the second, Listowel was able to regroup in the third and again score early to add some insurance. Robertson’s first of the season on the power play gave the Cyclones a 3-1 advantage, and Warren’s second effort on a Chayse Herrfort rebound at 12:29 all but sealed the win for Listowel.
“It feels awesome,” said Robertson of his goal, a seeing-eye point shot that was deflected in by a Waterloo defender.
Blake Pickering, Blake Nichol and Brad Yowart picked up single assists for the Cyclones.
Kiselev made 21 saves in defeat.
CYCLONES BOMB BOMBERS
The Cyclones took advantage of a floundering Brampton team on Sunday afternoon, trouncing the Bombers 7-2 at Victoria Park Arena.
Listowel’s top line combined for seven points in the victory, as Nauta had two goals and an assist, Van Ooteghem had a helper and Elliott recorded his fourth multi-point game of the season with a goal and two assists. Tyler Fassl picked up his second win in as many tries with 28 saves in net.
Nichol (goal, assist) and Herrfort (two assists) also chipped in with multi-point efforts. Warren (3), Pickering (1) and Ray McFalls (1) each had single tallies, while Chad Lemire led all players with 16 penalty minutes.
Cameron Cruickshank had two assists for the Bombers, who are one of only two teams remaining in the GOJHL to not record a point so far this season. Goaltender Shane Dietl allowed seven goals on 24 shots.
Following Listowel’s win on Sept. 26, Hergott said that the team’s outstanding play as of late will give them the confidence they need heading into Friday night’s tough matchup with the rival Elmira Sugar Kings (5-1-0).
“We were expected to be on the lower end of the conference this year and I think we’re doing a great job of proving them wrong,” he said.
The Cyclones played a road test versus the Kitchener Dutchmen last night (Sept. 30), but as of press time the result is unknown.
Listowel hosts the Sugar Kings at Memorial Arena this Friday, Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. The Cyclones travel to Guelph the following day to meet the Hurricanes (3-2-1) at 7:30 p.m. at the Sleeman Centre.