NIAGARA FALLS, ON- The Brantford 99ers travelled to the Gale Centre last night for a Friday night matchup against the Niagara Falls Canucks. Aiden Berry was between the pipes for Brantford, and Avery Alves got the start in goal for the Canucks. Both teams had 5-4-0-0 records heading into the matchup.
The 1st period started off rough for the 99ers, as a warmup violation lead to a Canucks power play right off the opening face-off. Niagara took full advantage and gained early momentum as Wolf Giles wired a net front pass through Berry for his 6th goal of the season, giving the hometown Canucks a 1-0 lead at the 1:42 mark. Niagara continued to carry the pace in the early going as Brantford was struggling to stay out of the penalty box. First, Taye Ladislao went off for interference. The 99ers managed to kill off his penalty, and shortly after Joe Weber took a 2 minute boarding call and had to sit in the box. Brantford managed to kill off this penalty as well, and momentum seemed to take a shift. Around the 9 minute mark, Taye Ladislao carried the puck into the offensive zone and dropped it back to Pancoe, who skated in with all kinds of room and blasted a shot which was stopped by Alves, but the rebound landed on the stick of Kyle Ferguson who deposited the puck into the goal to tie the game. It was then the Canucks who struggled with discipline, taking 2 consecutive penalties giving Brantford a short 5-on-3 to work with, but they couldn’t get the leading goal. However, with just 11 seconds remaining in the period, Evin Kojokaro found Matthew Mongeau striding in on the left side. Kojokaro sent a beautiful pass to the stick of Mongeau who wristed the puck past the glove of Alves for his first career OJHL goal, giving the 99ers a 2-1 lead after 20.
The 2nd period was all 99ers, feeding off the momentum of Mongeau’s late 1st period goal. They had the Canucks hemmed into their own zone for the first quarter of the period. At the 6:11 mark, Kojokaro once again sent a pass cross ice, this time left to right over to Cole Smith who curled and fired for his first career OJHL goal, increasing Brantford’s lead to 3-1. More penalty trouble haunted the Canucks. First, Isaiah Winters went to the box for cross checking, and then Philip Roberto received 2 and a 10 for punching 99ers forward J.D Shoniker after the whistle. Brantford took full advantage on the 5-on-4, this time it was captain Jonah Cochrane blasting one from the point past Alves to give the visiting 99ers a comfortable 4-1 lead after 40 minutes of play.
Two Brantford penalties in the final frame almost came back to haunt them, but Aiden Berry came up big in the final 20 minutes keeping his team ahead. Niagara Falls were able to score 1 more goal, however it wouldn’t be enough and the 99ers held on for the 4-2 victory, securing back-to-back wins.
Brantford is back in action on Wednesday travelling back to Buffalo, this time to take on the Jr. Sabres at the LECOM Harborcenter. The puck drops at 7:45pm.
Until then, the 99ers wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving Weekend! Enjoy time with your family!