By Ryan Drury of AM920, CKNX
A huge opportunity came to it’s climax last night in Listowel, with the Cyclones one win away from their first ever Sutherland Cup championship in franchise history, and they delivered.
The Cyclones began the game in front of a raucous and definite (over) capacity crowd at the Steve Kerr Memorial, with an air of anticipation hanging over the ice. The Corvairs came out flying, putting a ton of pressure on the Cyclones and hemming them into their zone a ton in the first ten minutes. Listowel managed to push back and generate some quality chances including a Max Coyle shot as the defender pinched into the high slot with no one near him, but he was robbed by Pierce Charleson. A penalty and goal free period, Caledonia led in shots 7-6 after 20.
Just a minute into the middle frame, Cullen Mercer gave the fans the release they were looking for, powering toward the net and tucking it in even after being dragged down going to the crease, earning his 7th point of the series. Roughly 5 minutes later, Brady Anderson came in one-on-one and turned a defender inside out and flung a backhand at Charleson, who bobbled it off his blocker as it just squeaked over the line for a 2-0 lead. Mitch Deelstra earned the first power play of the night, and on that advantage after a tip went wide blocker side, Holdyn Lansink grabbed the loose biscuit behind the net and wrapped it around into an open net for a massive 3-0 lead, prompting Corvairs Head Coach Mike Bullard to call a time out. On another Cyclones PP, Max Coyle had his stick shatter at the line, causing an odd man rush the other way, as Owen Lane sniped one high blocker on Max Wright to draw Caledonia into the game short handed making it 3-1 late in the period. Listowel drew another PP at the end of the period, and would carry over a full minute of man advantage time into a pivotal third frame.
With glory within reach, the Cyclones came out with a sense of purpose in the third, with seemingly the whole town of Listowel screaming all the way. Caledonia earned some man advantage time of their own, but could not crack the desire of the Cyclones’ defenders, and with time waning and the goalie pulled, captain and Listowel native Blake Nichol buried it into an empty cage from his own goal line to seal the biggest win in Cyclones history. A 4-1 final, and a 4-0 sweep of the Corvairs, delivered the first ever Sutherland Cup championship to Listowel.
Congratulations to all the players, coaches, staff, executives, and of course the parents and billets, who made this all possible. It was an amazing ride to cover Listowel. Thanks for letting us ride shotgun on the road to history. ‘Til next year, soak it in, enjoy it, we’ll see you in September.