Lincolns lose in OT for third straight game Sunday
Coach Bradley not happy with team's 'compete level' at present time
Lincolns' centre Jacob Chantler (67) celebrates his second-period powerplay goal against the London Nationals last Friday night at the PRC. Captain Ethan Lamoureux set up the goal with a perfect goal-mouth pass. Nats won the hard-fought game 5-4 in overti
By Pat Payton
ST. THOMAS - Overtime has not been kind to the St. Marys Lincolns early in this GOJHL regular schedule.
Here Sunday night, Lincs lost in extra time for the third straight game â€“ leaving St. Marys looking for its first win of the 2022-23 season. Spencer Vandenberg's unassisted goal 68 seconds into a seven-minute, three-on-three OT period gave the home-town Stars a 5-4 victory.
Lincolns again get one point for the extra-time defeat.
The win gives the surprising St. Thomas team a 3-0-0-1 record. After weekend action, the Stars sit atop the Western Conference standings with seven points. Lincs (0-0-3-0) have three points and currently sit in seventh place.
Following the game, Lincolns' coach Jeff Bradley pulled no punches.
"You can make all the excuses you want, but the bottom line is we're not competing," Bradley said tersely. "We have time for cheating, being lazy. Everybody talks about wanting to win, and building to be a contending team, but when we play like this . . . it's not going to happen. We're taking way too many shortcuts.
"This week, we'll have a week of working," he continued. "If we don't want to compete in the games, then we'll compete in practice. That's the way it's going to have to be. Skill is just not going to do it. (GM) Greg (Smale) put a really good team together, but if we're not going to compete it doesn't matter who we have on the team. If we don't compete, we aren't going to be successful."
Stars 5 - Lincolns 4 (OT)
At the Joe Thornton Community Centre Sunday, it appeared the Lincolns were in good shape with a 4-2 lead with eight minutes left in regulation time.
However, a powerplay marker by Andrew Seminara with 7:41 to play pulled the home team to within a goal. Lincs went on a powerplay with 3:31 remaining, but it was the Stars who took advantage as Connor Snedden connected on a shorthanded breakaway with 2:12 remainingâ€“tying the contest 4-4 and forcing overtime.
"A couple of undisciplined penalties put us down," Bradley reported. "A soft play at the blue line gave St. Thomas a breakaway on the tying goal, and then a bad (line) change cost us the game in overtime."
The teams traded first-period goals, with Brenden Cattrysse scoring for the Stars and Michael Elliston replying for the Lincs.
Callum Snedden put St. Thomas back in front at 2:28 of the middle frame, before St. Marys defenceman Josh Cornfield tied it again just over a minute later. At 4:57, Elliston gave the visitors their first lead of the night on a powerplay. It was the veteran winger's fourth tally of the young season.
Rookie Luca Spagnolo's first of the year put the Lincolns ahead 4-2 at 5:58 of the third.
Overall, shots were 42-23 in favour of the Lincolns. "We're getting scoring chances, but not getting shots on net," Bradley lamented. "And we missed a couple of open nets by not bearing down."
On a bright note, Elliston collected three points â€“ giving him six in three games. Rookie netminder Carter George, 16, made his first start for St. Marys.
Nationals 5 - Lincolns 4 (OT)
At the PRC Friday night, Lincolns fought back from 1-0, 2-1, 3-2 and 4-2 deficits to tie it 4-4 late in the second period.
But for the second straight home game, Lincs had to settle for a single point after dropping a 5-4 overtime decision to the London Nationals in front of an estimated 650 spectators. London Knights' second-round draft pick Sam O'Reilly fired the winner for the Nats at the 1:34 mark of extra time, with the teams playing three aside.
It's very early in the season, but the game had almost a playoff atmosphere to it as the two long-time rivals met for the first time in 2022.
The teams came out and set a fast, physical pace. Goals by Rylan Bowers and Riley Wood (powerplay) had London ahead 2-1 after the opening 20 minutes. Former National Josh Cornfield replied for the Lincolns.
After a powerplay marker by Lincs' defenceman Adam Barkley tied it early in the middle frame, goals by Lucas Chard and Wood (powerplay) put the Nats back in front 4-2 just past the 11-minute mark of the period. Lincolns, however, refused to quit and were rewarded with goals by Jacob Chantler (powerplay) and Austin Keleherâ€“less than two minutes apartâ€“leaving the teams all even going into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Lincs dominated the third period, out-shooting the visitors 17-6 and hitting the crossbar twice, but the entertaining game remained deadlocked.
O'Reilly won it for the Nationals after an end-to-end dash early in the seven-minute OT period.
Overall, shots were 49-25 in favour of St. Marys â€“ including 3-1 in overtime. London goalie Aiden Berry finished the night with 45 saves.
Areas to clean up
Coach Bradley describes it as "a process", and admits the Lincolns have some areas to "clean up" in their game.
"We kind of shot ourselves in the foot with some penalties," Bradley said. "But it's early and we keep preaching to the guys that it's a process. We just have to keep working at it, and hopefully good things will come.
"We have some things to clean up. If we're not playing that great, and still putting up 40 and 50 shots a night and getting all the scoring chances we're getting, then I'm anxious to see what our good actually is. We'll keep working and try and get some wins here shortly."
Added St. Marys GM Greg Smale: "We're playing real well, but our mistakes are ending up in the back of the net. We're just not getting any puck-luck right now."
Both teams scored twice with the man advantage. Bowers (1-3) finished the game with four points for the Nationals (2-0).
â€“Due to a scheduling conflict, Sunday's game in St. Thomas didn't start until just after 8 p.m. â€“ about 30 minutes after it was originally slated to begin.
â€“This weekend, Lincolns will play two games at the GOJHL's annual Showcase (Sept. 23-25) in Pelham.
Lincs meet the Stratford Warriors of the Midwestern Conference Friday at 1:30 p.m., and the Welland Jr. Canadians of the Golden Horseshoe loop Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Both games at the Pelham Accipiter will count in the standings.