BY DAN MCNEE
LISTOWEL – Just as they say all good things must come to an end, fortunately so do the bad ones.
The Listowel Cyclones (12-14-1) ended their seven-game losing streak on Friday at the Memorial with a 5-2 triumph over the Brampton Bombers (6-17-4). It was the Junior ‘B’ club’s first victory since Nov. 1 when it topped the Hurricanes in Guelph, 2-1.
“We talked all week about the importance of winning tonight,” said head coach Jason Brooks after the game. “I told them there’s no such thing as process tonight. Tonight’s about two points – it’s about winning. We have to have that mentality. To the guys’ credit they battled.”
The Cyclones’ determination showed from the opening puck drop, when co-captain Ben Shelley (5) converted a Blake Nichol pass only 12 seconds into the game. Derek Elliott then made it 2-0 with his 14th goal of the season at 7:59 on the power play.
Listowel was forced to change goalies after Brampton made it 2-1 three minutes later, when starter Ryan Hergott was ejected for shooting the puck over the glass following the Anton Bura power-play goal.
Tyler Fassl (7-5-0) entered the contest and made several outstanding stops over the course of the game for the win, with a Kevin Bray power-play marker midway through the second his only blemish on the night.
“It was pretty crazy because I didn’t even have my stick on the bench,” laughed Fassl, who finished with 30 stops. “I just kind of settled in and then I was good.”
Corey Flemington’s one-time blast from the point a minute after Brampton’s game-tying goal stood up to be the winner. The defenceman now has two goals in his last three games.
“Coach put me on [the power play] and I’m just letting her rip,” said Flemington. “It’s a big win and we’re just looking to keep it rolling now.”
Caleb Warren (5) would add an insurance marker at 15:33 of the third on a rebound at the side of the Bombers’ net – Listowel’s third goal with the man advantage on the night. Elliott put the game away with an empty netter with 11 seconds left in regulation.
“I could tell at the end we were all a little nervous, but it just feels really good to get the win,” said Fassl. “I know I feel really good about it.”
Brooks said that he was happy with the way his goaltenders responded after calling them out last weekend
See CYCLONES, page 15
following a lop-sided 8-4 loss to the Elmira Sugar Kings.
“I thought Tyler really played well, he made some great saves,” said Brooks. “He’s a competitive kid, and Ryan’s a competitive kid and they want to backstop a team to victory. Having burned them a little bit and challenged them a little bit I thought they responded really well tonight.”
Friday’s game marked the Cyclones debut of left winger Garrett James, an 18-year-old Stratford native acquired by Listowel last week. Brought in from St. Marys, the 6’1”, 190-pound forward had four goals and eight points in 15 games with the Lincolns this season.
“He gives us depth,” said Brooks of James. “It’s pretty early to say what he’s going to bring; I hope some offence. It’ll take him some time to kind of get used to how we play and what we want. He’s a big body, he’s got a good shot.”
Nichol and Ben Van Ooteghem each picked up a pair of assists in the victory. Nichol was shifted up to the wing from defence and he made an immediate impact, also registering eight penalty minutes and a number of hits.
Brampton netminder Jake Lawr finished with 35 saves for the loss. The Bombers also dropped decisions to Elmira and Stratford on the weekend to leave them winless in four straight.
The Cyclones picked up their second win in as many games on Saturday night in Cambridge, edging the Winter Hawks (12-12-3) 1-0 at the Galt Arena Gardens.
Tim Nauta potted his 12th of 2014-15 at 4:58 of the opening period and it proved to be the only goal of the contest. Elliott recorded the lone assist.
Fassl picked up his first career Junior ‘B’ shutout with an outstanding 35-save performance.
Owen Savory made 37 stops at the other end for Cambridge.
Listowel travels to Stratford this Friday, Dec. 12 to meet the fifth-place Cullitons (15-9-3) at Allman Arena. Game time is 7:30 p.m., as the Cyclones look to pick up their first win in three tries against Stratford this season. Listowel hasn’t beaten Stratford since Dec. 20, 2013.
The Cyclones will complete the home-and-home set versus the Cullitons this Sunday, Dec. 14 at the Memorial. Puck drop is 1:30 p.m.