Ton, Butchart and Mazur score two apiece in big road win Sunday
By Pat Payton
Six third-period goals–including three on powerplays–sparked St. Marys Lincolns to a huge 7-3 victory over the home-town Maroons in front of about 725 spectators here Sunday night at Chatham Memorial Arena.
The road win halted an 0-4-1 skid for the Lincs (7-12-0-1), and moved them into a tie for seventh place with LaSalle Vipers (7-10-0-1) in the Western Conference standings. After weekend action, both teams sit three points ahead of the last-place Strathroy Rockets (6-12-0-0).
For the second-place Maroons (11-3-0-2), a six-game winning streak came to an end with Sunday’s defeat.
Leading the Lincolns’ attack were Cayse Ton, Blair Butchart and rookie Joe Mazur, each with two goals. Captain Butchart also collected three assists for a five-point night. Ton and Mazur both picked up assists to finish with three-point outings.
Ton gave St. Marys a 1-0 first-period lead. Goals by Jake O’Donnell and Eddie Schulz gave Chatham a 2-1 lead at the end of 40 minutes. All the fireworks came early in the third.
Butchart tied it on a powerplay at the 1:18 mark, and Ton put the visitors ahead 3-2 just over a minute later. After O’Donnell tied it 3-3 at 3:28, Butchart fired what proved to be the winner on a powerplay exactly one minute later.
Goals by Mazur and Josh Martin put Lincolns up 6-3 before the 10-minute mark of the period, and Mazur (his 10th) added another powerplay tally with just over six minutes remaining.
Lincs bury their chances
“I just thought we competed the whole game,” coach Trent McClement said from the bus coming home. “Lately, we’ve had either slow starts or bad finishes, but tonight we got rewarded. In that third period, I think it was the hockey gods rewarding us for all our hard work the last three games.
“Tonight, we buried our chances, that was the difference. We had the same compete level, but when we got our chances we put them in. And our motto right now is to try and keep teams to three goals or less,” he added.
Ton had missed the previous couple of games due to university exams. McClement noted that it “definitely helped” having the feisty veteran back in the line-up. “He solidifies our left side on the powerplay. His return was a big addition for sure.”
Overall, Maroons out-shot the Lincolns 44-40. Justin Richer (5-5) earned the net win, while former St. Marys goalie Tristan Lewis (6-4) was handed the loss.
Chatham took 38 of the 62 penalty minutes, and Lincs made them pay with the man advantage.
Rockets 4 – Lincolns 2
At the PRC last Friday night, Rockets earned their first road win of the season (after nine straight away losses) with a hard-fought 4-2 victory over the Lincolns in front of approximately 500 spectators.
Strathroy captain Max Ewart’s second goal of the game snapped a 2-2 tie with just 1:09 remaining in the third period. Teammate Zach Berriault added his second of the night into an empty St. Marys net with 28 seconds left on the clock.
The last-place Rockets (6-12) moved to within one point of the Lincs with the win. Lincs went into the game with a 2-0 record against the Rockets, who have played their best hockey of the season over the last five games, coach Jason Furlong said.
“We’re starting to play better, the way we want to play to make us successful,” Furlong said. “Over the last five games, we’ve really stuck to the game plan.
“We have a lot of team speed up front. The effort has definitely been there, and the guys are coming together. It was a very important game for us tonight, and the guys knew it. They all showed up to play tonight. You can only control one thing in hockey, and that’s the effort you put into it.”
After almost 37 minutes of scoreless hockey, Ewart gave Strathroy a 1-0 lead on a powerplay at 16:53 of the second period. It came after Lincolns’ forward Carson McMillan picked up a fighting major, plus fighting instigator and aggressor penalties, giving the visitors a seven-minute powerplay.
After Jake Weston tied it at 2:46 of the third, Berriault put the Rockets back in front less than two minutes later. After their powerplay had been ineffective all night, Lincs finally connected with the man advantage at 8:24. Mason Goldie (his sixth) went top shelf, tying the contest 2-2.
Stops late penalty shot
With exactly two minutes remaining, Lincolns’ goalie Kyle Curtin stood his ground and stopped Strathroy forward Brendan Mairs on a penalty shot.
Just when it looked like the game was headed to overtime, the winning goal came after Lincs got pinned in their own zone for a lengthy stretch and Ewart tipped home a point shot.
“It was a game similar to the Komoka game earlier this year,” coach McClement said. “We were playing the game the right way, but we didn’t bury our chances — especially in the first period and at the start of the second.
“All in all, I thought the boys played well and we deserved to win the game. But when you don’t score on your chances, you aren’t going to win too many hockey games.”
Rockets out-shot the Lincs 22-12 over the final 40 minutes, and 27-21 overall.
–Carson McMillan will sit the next three games with a league suspension.
–This weekend, Lincolns have another big game when they travel to Strathroy to face the Rockets Saturday at 7:30 p.m. On Sunday, Lincs host Sarnia Legionnaires at 7:30 p.m.