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Caledon Golden Hawks endure a Groundhog Day experience in 4-1 loss to Schomberg Cougars




By Jim Stewart

Malapropism master Yogi Berra would have described the Schomberg-Caledon PJHL game on Saturday afternoon as “Déjà vu all over again.”

The Cougars' 4-1 win over the Golden Hawks had an eerily familiar connection to the 1993 film Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell.  In the charming piece, Murray's character must atone for his various transgressions with townsfolk and coworkers or he is damned to repeat the same day over and over again until he makes amends methodically to all those he's wronged personally or professionally.

The Golden Hawks and Cougars must have thought they were extras in that quirky 30-year-old movie because the events of their PJHL matinee game at the Mayfield Recreation Complex this weekend were hauntingly similar to a game played in Caledon between these divisional rivals last month.

Unlike the movie that has a happy ending for the reformed protagonist, Saturday's rising action, climax, and resolution were, unfortunately, the same for the Golden Hawks.

On Saturday afternoon, the parallels between the two games four weeks apart were uncanny.

Again, the Schomberg Cougars struck first when Michael Termini opened the scoring early as he did exactly four weekends ago on December 17 when the squads squared off at The Icebox.  

Again, the Cougars took a commanding 3-0 lead heading into the third period.

Again, the Golden Hawks scored early in the third period to pull within two goals of the visitors and created a renewed level of energy to battle the visitors from Schomberg.  

Again, the Cougars responded quickly to restore their three-goal margin over the home side. 

Again, the goalies that squared off against one another four weekends ago—Anthony Paolini for the Cougars and Chad Walker for the Golden Hawks—put forth excellent efforts, but Paolini once again prevailed and Walker once again suffered the hard-luck loss. 

There were some obvious differences between the two PJHL contests—Saturday afternoon's game was missing the panoply of penalties that plagued the game in December which included an all-out melee in the third period.

Saturday's game was tame by comparison with only five minor penalties being called against each team.

Schomberg won the contest 5-1 on December 17, but the sequence of the four goals on Saturday was identical to the game in Caledon four weekends ago.

When Termini wired a wrist shot past Chad Walker to light the lamp on Saturday less than four minutes into the game, the Golden Hawks had to wonder about PJHL history repeating itself.

Jordyn Palazzo—who had three assists in the previous contest – then put the visitors up 2-0.  Later in the period, Walker stoned Palazzo and former Golden Hawk Joey Furlano on breakaways to keep the home side within striking range.

Eerily similar to their previous contest at The Icebox, the Cougars took a 3-0 lead early in the middle frame.

This time, Schomberg defenseman Thomas Cecutti scored 88 seconds into the second period to give the visitors a three-goal cushion that they took into intermission as they did in December.

Much like the December 17 contest, Caledon struck less than three minutes into the third period when Tyler Van Dehn's power play goal from the slot, assisted by Andrew Perrino and Jared Leite, pulled the Golden Hawks to within two goals. However, in a similar plot development, the Cougars answered quickly to stifle Caledon's momentum.

Schomberg forward Spencer Natale banged in a rebound thirteen seconds after Van Dehn's marker to restore the Cougars' three-goal lead.

Paolini—fresh off his second stint with the OHL Mississauga Steelheads—flashed the leather at 14:43 to preserve the Cougars' lead and his team required his athleticism in the final frame.  Schomberg—the most penalized team in the 61-team PJHL—handed the Hawks a Golden 5-on-3 power play opportunity twelve minutes into the period.

Caledon Head Coach Tom Carnovale called a timeout to cue up the power play strategy, but two blocked shots by Matthew Lychek and Anthony Nascimento and some key point-blank saves by Paolini neutralized the home team's concerted and valiant offensive press.

Schomberg Head Coach Mark Hrinco spoke glowingly about his goaltender's performance, especially in the third period.

“Paolini was solid this afternoon, especially on the 5-on-3.  He's back with us after gathering OHL experience with the Steelheads.  His rebound control was incredible and our team's confidence is high with him in the net.”

According to Coach Hrinco, the team has been placing an emphasis on blocked shots and it manifested itself at a crucial juncture in the third period.

“Funny enough, we starting charting blocked shots as a club in the new year. Part of our 5-on-3 defense is to get into lanes and block shots which they did today. There's a commitment to winning as a team when everyone takes pride in blocking shots.”

Undaunted by the shot-blocking prowess of the Cougars and history repeating itself as it did on Saturday, the seventh-place Golden Hawks (10-19-1-2) will continue to jockey for playoff position with eighth-place Innisfil (6-24-1-1).

Caledon hosts the Spartans on Sunday, January 21 at the Mayfield Recreation Complex.  Puck drop will be 2:30.

The Golden Hawks trail sixth-place Huntsville by only four points so a big game result versus the Spartans will be required by Caledon's PJHL squad to keep pace with the Otters and climb the North Carruthers Division standings.  

Post date: 2024-01-18 12:37:39
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