The Tillsonburg Horizon Seeds atom reps and Aylmer ‘did it again’ at the Kinsmen Memorial Arena.
It started with Aylmer’s Brody Vanroestel and Carson Appleford scoring in the first 3:30 for the visitors in Sunday afternoon’s Southern Counties minor hockey game.
“This (Aylmer) team… we’ve given up two goals in the first five minutes every time we played them, I think,” said Horizon Seeds coach Rob VanDoninck, assisted on the Tornadoes’ bench by Rick VanLouwe and trainer Rob Fabi.
“Three straight,” Fabi nodded.
“Three straight games,” said VanDoninck, “and tonight we gave up two quick goals again, which has been a problem for us. We’ve been a little notorious for slow starts all year. But we battled back hard and scored a couple good goals. I’m happy – we carried the play, we scored some good goals, and we made up for another slow start.
“They like playing catchup I guess,” he added with a laugh.
In those games, Tillsonburg won twice and then tied Sundays’ game 4-4.
Josiah VanGurp, Carter Newson and Dustin Black all scored for Tillsonburg in the last three minutes of the first period to give the home side a 3-2 advantage.
Aylmer scored twice in the second, but couldn’t hold the lead as Tillsonburg’s Connor McDowell knotted the score 1:36 into the third.
There were some close chances inside the Aylmer blue line late in the game, including a goalpost, but the game remained a 4-4 tie.
Tillsonburg 4, Aylmer 4
Horizon Seeds scoring: 1. Josiah VanGurp; 2. Carter Newson (Austin Black, Josiah VanGurp); 3. Austin Black (Jack Moore); 4. Connor McDowell (Jacob Bailey, Carter Newson).
The Tornadoes have been a .500 hockey team so far, said VanDoninck.
“We haven’t been able to really get on a winning streak yet. We had a spell where we weren’t very competitive, but the guys have turned it around. We’re playing hard for 35 minutes now and we’re doing okay.
“We’re happier than we were at the start of the season, that’s for sure,” he smiled. “We’re getting a better effort. We’ve been working on a real team strategy – breaking into their zone, getting out of our zone – but it was mostly our guys not working for 35 minutes. We’d lose 5-1, but there was a five-minute section when they’d score all their goals. So 30 minutes of the game we were fine, then we’d fall asleep for five minutes and have to fight back. Now we’re putting out 35 minutes of effort in a game and that’s helped out a lot.”
Like most TMHI rep teams, the atoms will be going to Pelham for a 2012 NA Silver Stick qualifier tournament.
“We’ve been gearing towards the Silver Stick, so we want to make sure we can take some positive energy from the last half of that game and use it moving forward,” VanDoninck summed up.