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Friday, November 23, 2018

Conners Rallies Flyers to OT Win Over Mitchell

Goderich | by Peter Jackson  

Forward Riley Conners scores in overtime for the 6-5 Goderich victory, after tying the game late in regulation time

Goderich Flyers' forward and team captain Riley Conners was the hero Friday, as his overtime power play goal gave the club a 6-5 victory over the visiting Mitchell Hawks in Provincial Junior Hockey League play.

The marker set up by Brennan Long was Conners' second of the game, and followed his effort which tied the contest with 26 seconds left in regulation time.

The Flyers have won two of their last three games, while the overtime loss was Mitchell's first of the season.

The game was also Goderich's first under new head coach Paulie O'Byrne, who brings prior experience behind the bench from the London Knights' midget program and the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

O'Byrne brings a new attitude to the Flyers, which stresses players' mental approach to the game as well as physical.

He tells Country 104.9 Sports that Goderich can beat any team in the PJHL's Pollock Division, as long as the players maintain a positive outlook on their game.

The Flyers Friday took an early lead, as forward Eric Vander Eyk capitalized on a neutral-zone takeaway, and went in alone for the game's opening goal at 4:39 of the first period.

Goderich went up 3-2 after 40 minutes on Matt Bean's two goals, with Mitch Fisher assisting on both and Jacob Kirkton earning a second assist on Bean's first goal.

Conners fed Jake Fritzley at 6:35 of the third period to even the score at 4-4, and Fritzley returned the favour on the Conners marker that drove the game into overtime.

Mitchell outshot the Flyers 46-41.

The victory improved seventh-place Goderich's record to 4-15-0-2 for 10 points, six behind Hanover.

O'Byrne says he's looking forward to the Flyers hosting Kincardine in the latest chapter of the Battle of Highway 21, and is confident his players will perform well.

Goderich hosts the Bulldogs at the Maitland Rec Centre, Sunday at 2:55pm.

In Friday's other PJHL Pollock Division action, Kyle Stanbury scored twice including the game-winner as Wingham defeated Hanover 4-1, and Michael Stefanelli's unassisted third period goal helped Mount Forest get by Walkerton 5-4.

In the PJHL Yeck Division Friday, Jon Baker and Carter McLlwain scored for Exeter in the Hawks' 5-2 loss to Thamesford.

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