Maroons' top line shines at GOJHL Showcase

The Chatham Maroons’ top line was in mid-season form at the GOJHL Showcase.

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The Chatham Maroons’ top line was in mid-season form at the GOJHL Showcase.

Griffin Robinson, Maddux Rychel and Zach Power scored six of the team’s seven goals and combined for 14 points in two games at the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League’s season-opening weekend in Pelham.

The Maroons lost to the Listowel Cyclones 3-2 in double overtime Sunday after tying the Niagara Falls Canucks 5-5 on Saturday.

Robinson and Rychel were linemates last season on the Maroons and also played together on the Leamington Flyers. Power, a second-year winger, was added to their line in the pre-season.

“That was the plan going into it – for Zach to get a bigger role this year – and those guys had a hole on their wing, so it just seemed like a fit,” Maroons head coach Kyle Makaric said. “From Day 1, it clicked really well. We started with it and we’ve ran with it ever since.”

Each of the GOJHL’s 26 teams played twice at the three-day showcase.


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The Maroons had one of the toughest schedules. The Cyclones and Canucks were Sutherland Cup semifinalists last season.

“We looked good at times in both games,” Makaric said. “I thought, by and large, we were a lot better than the pre-season. We played some pretty good hockey teams. Obviously we’d like to win both, but we came out with a result that we can be happy with.”

The Maroons were the only Western Conference team without a win at the showcase. but Makaric was pleased with their improvement after posting a 1-3-1-0 exhibition record.

“All the stuff that we wanted to learn and teach (in the pre-season), you could tell that it made a difference because we were really prepared and we played well against two pretty good hockey teams,” he said.

The Maroons’ 20-man roster includes 14 players with little or no junior ‘B’ experience.

Those youngsters looked good at the showcase, Makaric said.

“Our defence were good,” he said. “I thought that they played well, especially in the second game. Moved the puck really well, made smart decisions with it.

“Our forwards were good. We skated and competed really hard and we fought for everything that we got.”

On Sunday, Power scored twice as the Maroons erased a pair of one-goal deficits. His second goal came with 41 seconds left in the second period.

Maroons goalie Noah Zeppa made 35 saves in his junior ‘B’ debut.

Tyler Hotson scored the winning power-play goal at 2:04 of the second overtime.


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Rylan Bowers and Carter McLlwain also scored for the Cyclones. Dixon Grimes made 25 saves.

On Saturday, Rychel had a hat trick and one assist as the Maroons settled for a single point after failing to hold a pair of two-goal leads.

Robinson added a goal and two assists. Rookie forward Tyler Moss scored his first junior ‘B’ goal.

After the Canucks wiped out the Maroons’ 3-1 lead, Moss and Rychel scored 1:43 apart late in the second period for a 5-3 lead.

The Canucks replied with two goals in the third.

Maroons rookie netminder Tiago Rocha made 40 saves.

“Both (Maroons goalies) held their own,” Makaric said. “Without some really timely saves in the first game from Tiago, it could have got away from us a little bit. They had a lot of shots at times.

“In the second game, Noah was really steady. It was a pretty even-paced game and I think that he played extremely well.”

Ryan Donovan scored two goals for the Canucks. Matthew Riva, Jaleel Adams and Cody Wall also tallied. Jack Brand made 27 saves.

Rookie forward Tate Bowden missed the showcase with an injury, so the Maroons called up blue-liner Sebastian Stubberfield from the Blenheim Blades and went with 11 forwards and seven defencemen.

Bowden is expected to return for Thursday’s visit to the Sarnia Legionnaires.

The Maroons will host the London Nationals in Sunday’s home opener at 7 p.m. at Chatham Memorial Arena.

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