The St. Catharines Falcons have accomplished much in their existence. They have won the Golden Horseshoe Conference 16 times and have gone to the Ontario finals 5 times. But the closest they have ever come to being crowned Ontario champs was in 1997 when they lost to the Elmira Sugar Kings in 7 games.
However, after 44 years of frustration, the St. Catharines Falcons can finally call themselves Ontario champions after defeating the Brantford Golden Eagles 5-1 in game 6 of the Sutherland Cup finals.
After falling behind 2-0 in the best of 7 series, the Falcons came back to win 4 straight games, defeating Brantford 4 games to 2.
On Friday night, playing before a season high crowd of 1851 at the Jack Gatecliff Arena, the Falcons stormed out of the gate and had a 2-0 lead before the game was two and a half minutes old.
Andy Sturtz opened the scoring 43 seconds into the first period followed by a Luke Kariam powerplay goal at 2:24.
In the second period, the Falcons had the only goal of the period when Ben Dubois scored on a shot that somehow snuck its way past Brantford goalie Bryce O’Hagan.
Brantford showed some life in the third when Matt Prinsen scored at 4:17.
The Golden Eagles dominated the play for much of the third period, forcing Falcons goalie Brad Pope to make numerous exceptional saves to preserve the 2 goal lead.
Riley Jakobschuk gave the Falcons some breathing room when he scored at 14:24 to give the Falcons a 4-1 lead.
That prompted the Golden Eagles to pull their goalie in favour of the extra attacker with more than 4 minutes remaining in the third period.
However, the move backfired as Kyle Woodhouse scored an empty net goal with 3:12 left in the period to put the game out of reach for Brantford.
The Golden Eagles outshot the Falcons 13-5 in the third period and 32-25 in total.
St. Catharines - Andy Sturtz (Ben Dubois, Nick Hovanessian) 0:43
St. Catharines - Luke Karaim (powerplay) (Matt Melo) 2:24
St. Catharines - Ben Dubois (Nick Hovanessian) 4:42
Brantford - Matt Prinsen (Tyler Norrie) 4:17
St. Catharines - Riley Jakobschuk (Johnson Andrews) 14:24
St. Catharines - Kyle Woodhouse (emptynet) (Matt Melo, Andy Sturtz) 16:48