Mathew Ferrari’s powerplay goal with 12 seconds left in the first overtime period sealed the comeback as the Toronto Junior A Canadiens topped the St. Michaels Buzzers 4-3 at Buckingham Arena Sunday night.
The Canadiens (4-3-0) tied the game with 1:04 left in the third period on Kevin Hancock’s first goal of the season after the Habs watched a first period two-goal lead evaporate in the second.
Aaron Spivak opened the scoring at 12:12 of the first on the powerplay finishing off a terrific cross-crease pass by Justin Maiolino that just snuck between the legs of Buzzer’s goaltender George Argiropoulos.
The boys in red would strike again just 34 seconds later after defenceman Ryan Kruss jumped on a Ryan Ngan rebound that came off the backboards and roofed it over the shoulder of Argiropoulos.
However, after getting into penalty trouble in the second, the Buzzer’s tied the game on two goals by defenceman Ian Edmondson.
St. Mike’s would take the lead just 1:14 into the third on a Thomas Beretta backhand that snuck through the arm of Daniel Lopapa.
The Canadiens goaltender made 31 saves on 34 shots while Buzzer’s goaltender Argiropoulos made 39 saves on 43 shots in the loss.
Head coach Mario Cicchillo was thrilled with Lopapa’s performance.
“He made a few saves there when it was 3-2, highlight reel saves,” said Cicchillo. “The game could have been out of reach for us if they got another one there.
He made a few saves there when it was 3-2, highlight reel saves
“That would have been an uphill battle for us.”
With just over six minutes to play in the third period Lopapa stoned Buzzer’s Noah Jordan on a breakaway only to follow that save up with a glove save on Joseph Breton to keep the game within reach.
The Canadiens also had big contributions from their first line that combined for five points on the night.
“My line is very good and they were moving the puck really good,” said Maiolino, who finished the night with two assists. “We’ve got good chemistry and I was fortunate to make some good passes that they were able to put in the net.”
Penalties seemed to be the rise and fall of the Canadiens Sunday and defenceman Luca Farrace believes they brought St. Mike’s back into the game.
“The second period we took a few penalties and a 5-on-3 that they scored on let them back into the game,” said Farrace, who set up the overtime winner. “We try to block as many shots as we can and kill them off and swing the momentum from there.”
Despite giving up two goals on five chances on the night, Maiolino believes the team’s penalty kill got unlucky.
“We don’t want to take a penalty when were down 5-on-4, it just makes things harder on us,” said Maiolino. “I thought the PK did a pretty good job, we just got a few unlucky bounces and they were able to capitalize.”
With their third straight win, the Canadiens sit tied for top spot in the South Division with the Toronto Patriots, who have two games in hand, but Cicchillo knows the team can’t get too ahead of themselves.
“When you win a couple games in a row everyone’s on a high,” said Cicchillo. “The leadership group is real good on our team and they’ll tell the guys ‘let’s not get too high or too low, let’s just keep it going every single weekend.’”
Both the teams will take part in the Governor’s Showcase this weekend at the Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville.
The Canadiens will be back in action Friday afternoon when they take on the Newmarket Hurricanes, game time is 4 p.m., while the Buzzers will look to get back in the win column when they face the Aurora Tigers on Friday, puck drop is at 7 p.m.