By Ken Pagan
Thanksgiving weekend was one to forget for the Hamilton Kilty B’s, but a shutout win at home helps right the ship.
Rookie goaltender Matteo Drobac stopped all 18 shots for his first junior shutout to help the Kilty B’s snap a two-game losing streak with a 4-0 win over the Welland Jr. Canadians (3-10-1) on Thursday at Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena.
The Kilty B’s (9-3-2) were coming off a pair of losses against teams below them in the standings, having dropped a 2-1 decision in Thorold (7-6-2) on Saturday, three days after a tough 5-1 loss in Buffalo (4-8-2).
“I was a bit sick last week, so felt a bit off, but I’m happy I came back and played well tonight,” Drobac said after Thursday’s win. “So I’m just going to try to keep it rolling.”
Terry Bridgland, Fred Teeple, Andrew Salt and Jacob MacDonald scored for the Kilty B’s, who outshot Welland 42-18. The Kilty B’s were sporting throwback yellow jerseys in support of the Luke Zupan Peace Luv Foundation, in memory of the club’s former captain who died suddenly at age 20 in 2015.
With the Kilty B’s controlling much of the play for most of the night, Drobac had a first-hand look from his crease of a team that has been making improvements as the season wears on.
“With every team out there, there is always room for improvement,” he said. “I can see our defence getting better and just our team as a whole getting better, so it’s good to see.”
Drobac, a sixth-round draft pick of the OHL’s Hamilton Bulldogs last spring, also got his first taste of OHL action recently. With Bulldogs goaltenders Zach Roy and Marco Costantini both ailing in late September, Drobac got the start against the powerhouse London Knights at First Ontario Centre on Sept. 29, suffering a 7-3 loss in his debut.
“It was an awesome feeling,” Drobac said of his first OHL experience. “I’m really happy I got my first game under my belt. The guys were super supportive and even though it didn’t go the way I wanted, I still had lots of fun.
“It gives you more confidence knowing a team like the Hamilton Bulldogs is showing some interest in me and my future so I was really happy to be there.”
Drobac, 16, has put together a .928 save percentage and 2.75 goals-against average in six games this season. He shares the Kilty B’s net net with 18-year-old Justin Easter, who sports a .942 save percentage and 1.86 goals-against average.
The Kilty B’s hit the road Friday to face the St. Catharines Falcons (7-5-1). They are home again on Monday with Buffalo visiting at 7 p.m.