Hurricanes hit by injury bug

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Sometimes it's not 'how many' shots you take, but how many good shots.

"Exactly," said Tillsonburg Hurricanes' leading scorer Chandler Knibb, who notched Tillsonburg's only goal in a 3-1 home ice loss to North York last Friday night at the Kinsmen Memorial Arena.

Knibb's shot off the bar beat North York goalie Evan Purdy at the 8:33 mark of the third period, tying the game at 1-1.

"It was top far shelf," said Knibb. "I just picked up the puck off the wall, split the two defenders and went far side."

It was the 13th shot of the game for the Hurricanes, but they were feeling good at that point.

Then North York replied with two quick goals, 10 seconds apart, at 6:11 and 6:01, to clinch the 3-1 win.

The shot clock showed 62-16 in North York's favour after three periods. According to the GMHL website, Tillsonburg goalie "Yudin Oleksander" - No. 27 - was the game's No. 1 star with 60 saves - a .952% save percentage after three busy periods - although Friday's goalie wore Tyler Jensen's No. 31 jersey.

"Not enough bodies on the bench right now," said Knibb, noting the team has been hit by the injury bug. "We're short-staffed on the bench so we just wanted to play a conservative game, keep them them out of our zone for most of the game, and try to get pucks in the net. But as you could see we didn't get many shots on net... just because some guys gassed out and had to dump it."

For the most part, Knibb said the Hurricanes did a good job limiting North York to perimeter shots, rather than odd-man rushes or dangerous shots from the slot.

"They had a couple squeak by us in every period - you can't keep a team like that fully defended, obviously they're going to catch a break... but I think we held them to a fairly low amount (of good chances). I think our team did a pretty good job on that, kept shots to the outside which helped our goalie in the long run."

Patrik Zilak's go-ahead goal with 6:11 left to play was a heart-breaker after battling so hard through three periods.

"That one took the sails out of our ship there, but the boys didn't give up, which is nice being short bodies too. Everybody played their hearts out, that's all you can ask for."

Injuries happen, said the 21-year-old from Red Deer, Alberta.

"It's hockey, everybody's going to get hurt once in a while. We just caught our injury bug right now though, so a couple of our guys - a few of our guys - are out. We have a whole line out, but they'll be back shortly, hopefully."

Tillsonburg (5-9-1) is still pushing for GMHL South Division 'middle of the pack', while North York (15-2-0) is keeping pace with the division leaders.

"They're a pretty good club," Knibb credited. "We just played a hard game tonight, shut them down pretty good. They just got a couple lucky bounces and the score ended up 3-1."

The Hurricanes are in good shape, said Knibb, who was double-shifting Friday night.

"All in all, we're in pretty good shape so that helps us out. We're on the ice four days a week, and mix in the Wednesday games, and sometimes we're on the ice seven days a week.

"It's not bad, but right now I could probably use a hot tub," he laughed.

Tillsonburg hosted another South Division front-runner Wednesday afternoon. Second-place Kingsville (16-3-3) was leading 5-4. The Hurricanes will be in London Saturday for an 8 p.m. game against the third-place Lakers (15-4-1).



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