By Ken Pagan
The unexpected early-season ride has come to an end, but the Hamilton Kilty B’s are getting right back at it to build on the franchise’s best start in 11 years.
The veteran-laden Caledonia Corvairs stormed back with three third-period goals on Monday to escape the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena with a 4-3 win in front of nearly 300 fans, handing the Kilty B’s (5-1-1) their first loss of the season.
The club’s 5-0-1 record coming into the game was the franchise’s best since 2008-09, when the Stoney Creek Warriors, then coached by former NHLer Ric Nattress, opened with eight straight wins on their way to an eventual Golden Horseshoe Conference title.
If this year’s Kilty B’s are going to take a shot at repeating history, the Corvairs (7-1-0) showed them on Monday that there is lots of work ahead.
Ryan Littlejohn scored twice in the third period, including the game-winner on a short-handed breakaway with 4:11 remaining. Jonathan Kilby also scored to tie the game midway through a third period in which the Corvairs outshot the Kilty B’s 20-9.
The Kilty B’s made their mark in the first 40 minutes, outshooting the Corvairs 23-20 in building a 3-1 lead. After Caledonia’s Nick McHugh opened the scoring 6:11 into the game, the Kilty B’s answered back with goals from Fred Teeple and Jacob MacDonald.
Andrew Salt banged home a bouncing puck late in the second period to give the home team a 3-1 lead.
“We were up 3-1 there and had a good lead going into the third, but I think we let up a bit, being a young team,” Salt said. “We just have to take the positives from that and work hard at practice this week and come back hard on Saturday against Fort Erie.”
The Kilty B’s were coming off a 5-0 win on Sunday in Welland, which was a strong response after a 3-3 tie last Monday with the Niagara Falls Canucks.
“Last week after our game against Niagara, even though we tied, we weren’t happy with the outcome,” Salt said. “Like (general manager Brian Rizzetto) says, ‘good isn’t good enough here.’ We want to be the best and we showed we can compete with the best tonight. We had that game, we just have to stick with it the whole way.”
The Corvairs outshot the Kilty B’s 40-32, with Hamilton goaltender Matteo Drobac making 28 stops.
On Sunday, Kilty B’s goaltender Justin Easter stopped all 25 shots in a 5-0 win over the Welland Jr. Canadians. Fred Teeple scored a pair for Hamilton, while Yon Shimpo, Nolan Underwood and Jacob MacDonald had one each.
The Kilty B’s travel to Fort Erie (0-6-0) on Saturday before playing host to the Pelham Panthers (2-4-1) next Monday.