By Joel van der Veen
DAVIDSON — A narrow 6-5 win over the Drake Canucks made an exciting start to 2017 for the Davidson Cyclones.
The teams faced off at the Davidson Communiplex on Wednesday before a modest but eager crowd.
Cyclones coach Brad Morrison said it was a solid game for both the defence and offence, though some penalties made the team vulnerable at certain points.
“Drake was really capitalizing on their power plays,” he said. “We were taking some bad penalties at the wrong times.”
Davidson’s Rhyse Dieno had the only goal of the first period with 17:45 remaining, assisted by Chad Manz and Bryce Prpick.
Carter Coben tied the score at the top of period two with a goal for Drake (18:43), followed by three consecutive goals for Davidson.
Cyclones captain Derek Allan scored the first of those (18:12), followed by a goal by Brett Ward (15:47). Allan scored again with 15:21 remaining to give Davidson a 4-1 lead.
Drake closed the period with two more goals, scored by Adam Hendry (8:59) and Matt Spafford (2:33).
The third period began with another goal for Drake, scored by Jim Bubnick (9:11), tying the score at 4-4.
Davidson reclaimed the lead with back-to-back goals, the first by Brett Ward (8:15) and the second by Chad Manz (6:43).
Jim Bubnick then scored a second goal for Drake (4:45), ensuring the game remained close right to the end.
Morrison had praise in particular for goalie Brady Willner, complimenting him on his rebound control.
Willner stopped 38 out of 43 shots on net, shutting out Drake entirely in the first period.
“Things are (moving) forward as we get more in shape and as our guys get skating more,” Morrison said Thursday.
Attendance in recent games has wavered, with some players sick with the flu or travelling over the holidays. Morrison himself had to miss a recent road game in Drake due to illness.
“It’s tough to find chemistry,” he observed. “You never know who’s going to be there for the games . . . We make do with what we get.”
Still, he added, the players are dedicated and are building that chemistry as the season progresses.
As of Friday, the Cyclones had a 7-6-1-1 record for the season so far, placing them at third out of five teams in the Long Lake Hockey League.
For the full story, please see the Jan. 9 edition of The Davidson Leader, or call 306-567-2047 to subscribe today.