This past weekend the Canandaigua Knights played the Tri-County Eagles, the number one team (undefeated) and they fought valiantly. After losing the first game 7-2, leaving some to question the effort of the team, they showed that they wouldn’t back down from a challenge, even against a team that clearly outmatched them as far as speed, and overall skill.
“Before the game, I asked the guys why they were here,” assistant coach, Scott Reston said. “When everybody finished answering I told everyone that anything worth doing was worth doing right.”
The first period began with both teams getting pressure, but the Knights dominated most of the play for the first half of the period. Tri-County took over in the second half of the period, and they pressured the Knights heavily. With some back and forth action toward the end, Tri-County swarmed, and created an open shot that went top-shelf, glove-side, past Knights goalie Ian Campbell.
“On that play, Melroy, I think, asked if I got screened,” said Campbell of the goal. “I could see the whole way, but the problem was I played it cautiously, and I backed down in my crease. I didn’t play it as aggressively as I needed to.”
The period ended 1-0. Tri-County up.
Second period play began with immense offensive pressure from Tri-County, and it was all the Knights could do to keep the puck out of their net.
“We got a little too sloppy in our own end,” admitted Jeremy Trillaud, senior defenseman. “We needed to stay focussed and not run around as much as we were.”
“I think the game really slowed down, you know, in that second period where I froze a bunch of pucks,” said Campbell. “I was just trying to stop (Tri-County) from getting so much pressure.”
The Knights were able to break out for some offensive pressure, and play solid defense with the play going back and forth, a lot of the later part of the second period being played in the neutral zone. But on one particularly promising offensive attack, Knights center Kody Laird, pinched up to help in a corner, and the puck went to one of the fastest skaters in the league, and starting at the far end of the ice, he diggled, and wiggled his way past four of five guys, going in between two converging defenders to go in on the breakaway, for an goal that he made look easy.
“I had broken one of the laces on my right pad,” Campbell said. “And he was right-handed, so I figured he would steer to my left, and I was right. Anyway, when he did that he eliminated my ability to skate, because I couldn’t push off with my right leg, so I tried to poke check, and he just slid it in past me.”
On this play Campbell also mentioned he re-injured his upper body injury.
The second period ended 2-0.
“I told the boys, that wasn’t exactly what we wanted, but we kept it close by hustling,” said Nick Van Stralen, the coach of the Knights. “I could tell they were tired, so we needed to get out there and score quickly.”
That’s what they needed, and that’s what Gavin Furhmann gave them.
“I kinda saw a little bit of space, I don’t know, and I just passed to Pete, who made it happen, and Kurz finished it off for us,” he said. “We needed a goal so, you know, we got one.”
The score for most of the third was 2-1, a lot of good plays on offense and defense leaving the crowd in a great deal of suspense but, the Knights got a penalty late. The Knights were doing all they could to stop the high-flying power play of Tri-County. Eventually, in a scrum play at the net a goal went in.
“Of all the goals,” said Campbell. “That one angered me the most. Somebody was hooking my leg, so I couldn’t get my legs together to seal my butterfly, and it ended up dribbling past me, five-hole.”
The period was almost over when a bit of a fight broke out in front of the Knights net.
“I had hurt my (upper body) in the second period, and one of the players from the other team tweaked it when they were jamming the puck, so I hacked at his leg a little, and he got a mad, so they were talking trash, and it ended up, in a twisted way, giving them a goal.”
Number 9, the player who Campbell spoke of, was fired up after the scrap, and he got the puck, circled around the net, just like most of Tri-County’s cycle plays, but instead of looking for the weak side pass like they did every time before, the angry player looking to make a vengeful play, sniped top right, off the post, off the goalie, off the other post, and, of course, across the goal line.
“I knew he was mad, and he was looking to make a play, so I tried to stay against my post, but if there was one thing I learned, it was that they always passed to the weak side or the top of the slot. That time, though, he looked for the shot, took it, and got it. A sick play really.”
The Knights were able to get a late goal with a six on three advantage with Tri-County taking penalties late. But it was too little, too late, and they left the game without any points.
4-2 was the final score, and it was indicative of the entire game. Tri-County was a couple steps ahead of the Knights, who showed their best defensive effort of the season.
They fell to 2-4-1* Their motto going forward, is stated by Coach Phil Priolo.
“If we just keep moving in the right direction we’ll be fine.”
*The post Knights Keeper Lacks, Offense Attacks, was about a game that was considered illegitimate by the league, and will be replayed on 1/16/15.