The Hamilton Kilty B’s used a three-goal third period to lift them over the Niagara Falls Canucks at home in Game 1 of their best-of-seven first round series by a score of 5-2, on Wednesday night.
While the Kilty B’s (40-7-1-0) ran away with the game towards the end, the Canucks made it clear to everyone watching that the regular season champions are going to have their hands full with the feisty eighth seed.
Nathan Phillips was the first of four different Kilty B’s players to find the scoresheet in the playoff opener, driving to the net midway through the first period and opening the scoring with a backhand shot from in close.
A Jonas Mogilnicki interference penalty gave the Canucks a power play before the end of the period, and the eight ranked unit in the GOJHL regular season took advantage. Niagara Falls leading scorer Matthew Riva sent the puck towards the net from the right faceoff circle, and a tip from Ethan Walker from an awkward angle sent the teams into their respective dressing rooms tied at one.
The Kilty B’s got a power-play goal of their own in the opening minutes of the second period, courtesy of Dylan Abbamont, firing a wrist shot from the high slot past a screened Niagara Falls goalie to put Hamilton back on top.
Once again however, the Canucks quickly equalized. This time it was Riva, taking a lob pass in the neutral zone and weaving between two Hamilton defenders and into open space shooting it past Braedyn McIntosh to make it 2-2.
That was it in terms of offensive output for the Canucks (7-37-3-1), as the final frame was all Kilty B’s.
Sam Shakes and Connor Haynes roofed pucks in quick succession in the opening minutes of the third period, and Hamilton dug in with a defensive mindset until Abbamont buried his second of the game into an empty net to seal the win.
McIntosh was mostly solid when called upon in this one, stopping 19 of 21 shots.
Stephen Giansante was in goal for the Canucks, turning back 34 of 38 attempts faced. That’s pretty par for the course for the goaltender against Hamilton, having allowed five goals on over 35 shots against in all three of the prior matchups between the teams.
- The Hamilton Huskies U13 AA team were recognized prior to playing in the OHF Championships during a pregame ceremony, with the team on hand to drop the puck.
- The series heads to Niagara for Game 2 on Friday night at 7 PM.