Sports

Physicality displayed in NTCI-Northern rivalry

[attach]5503[/attach]Dylan Stanway broke Martin Brodeur’s career record for goals by a netminder in one single game.

The difference was the North Toronto crease denizen was playing forward in the Norsemen’s 4-1 victory against street rivals Northern, Feb. 16 at North Toronto Arena.

Stanway picked up the hat trick, and it was a motivator for his linemates Jarrett Wilkinson and Dan Reynolds right from the first period when Stanway popped the puck past Oliver Jacobs.

“As soon as I scored my first goal, they said, ‘Alright, let’s get you the hat trick’, and they did everything they could to get me that,” Stanway said.

Initially, Stanway, Wilkinson and Reynolds were the fourth line, sent out to fire up a North Toronto-heavy crowd.

“I wasn’t actually expecting to do anything. I thought I was just coming out for a couple of shifts,” he said. “To score some goals — it was a shock for the whole team — but it’s great.”

Playing a physical game akin to Theo Fleury, Stanway would also hit his opponents hard, sending them handle over tea spout on several occasions much to the chagrin of his coach, John Taylor.

“It’s a huge rivalry and it’s tough because the stands were packed, and all their peers were there, and trying to get them to play a disciplined, smart game was just about impossible,” Taylor said. “So I was a little disappointed with the way they played.

“I didn’t think the game had too much flow and we had way too many penalties,” he added. “The big worry for me is the game adrenaline is going to be so high you’re going to take a lot of bad penalties.”

Still, picking up the win ensured the Norsemen a top 2 finish, ending the season without a loss at 6-0-2. Their record may be the same as South Region rivals Malvern Black Knights, but their edge is goals for and against. North Toronto has tallied 43 markers during the regular season and has allowed only 14 thanks to the skills of goalie Evan Morse and defenceman Andrew Ezer.

Northern coach Brian Gaw was aware of North Toronto’s sense of urgency in their last game of the season.

“A Northern–North Toronto game, you know it doesn’t matter what sport we play, the kids as you can tell, they really get up to play each other. It’s for bragging rights obviously,” he said. “They’re a pretty good team, they’re battling for first place, so the pressure was on them.

“They came out and played hard.”

During the second period, Gaw pulled his starting goalie Jacobs to let grade 12 Tyler MacLaine play in the final game of the season. He would allow only one goal from North Toronto’s Rhys Evanson who picked up a loose puck in front of the net and shot it glove-side.

The Red Knights would not be shutout by Morse though, as Wiley Matteo deflected Ezra Strauss’ point shot past the Norsemen’s goalkeep.

Not long after though, Stanway would grab an empty netter with the help of Reynolds, concluding another South Region regular season.