Pat Payton, Gazette sports editor
Stratford Cullitons have beaten every Midwestern Conference team except one: the Listowel Cyclones.
Cyclones improved their record to a 5-0 against Cullitons with a 3-2 shootout win in front of approximately 1,600 spectators--one of the biggest crowds of the season--Friday night at the Allman Arena.
All three games this regular season between the two teams at the Allman went to shootouts, and Cyclones managed to win them all. And it was the fourth time that Listowel has claimed a one-goal victory.
In Friday’s shootout, Cyclones out-scored Cullitons 3-2, with Caleb Cameron, Jacob Robitaille and Scott Pawson beating Stratford goalie Nick Caldwell. Captain Andrew Barton and Jake Ryan beat Cycs’ netminder Drew Reinhardt.
Ryan’s goal extended the shootout to sudden-death, but Pawson--the next Listowel shooter--scored and Stratford’s Ryan Watson missed and Cyclones skated off with the two points. Reinhardt, an 18-year-old from Clinton, is now 5-0 against the Cullitons.
After Stratford’s Jared Culliton (powerplay) and Listowel defenceman Mac Nichol traded first-period goals, Carter Stewart put the visitors up 2-1 at 7:49 of the middle frame. It stayed that way until Ryan (his 14th) fired the equalizer with just 1:46 left in the third.
Both sides had two shots in a scoreless five-minute overtime period. Overall, Cullitons out-shot the Cyclones 57-29, including 22-7 in the opening 20 minutes.
Listowel (24-14-2) jumped into sole possession of second place with the win. Stratford (17-16-6) moved to within two points of idle sixth-place Kitchener Dutchmen with the single point.
“(Cyclones) could be a first-round match-up for us, but they don’t have shootouts in playoffs, which is maybe a good thing,” quipped Cullitons’ assistant Tim Schultz.
“I don’t think Listowel have gotten in our heads or anything; everybody is still upbeat. The boys know how we played and we’re right there. We fired a ton of shots at them tonight.
“We only give up one more goal than them, so it’s not like we’re getting spanked when Listowel does beat us. The good thing is, we get another chance to go back at them Sunday (afternoon in Listowel),” Schultz added.
--Cullitons are now 5-1-1 in their last seven games. Listowel is 8-3-1 in their last 12 starts.