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Goaltender Justin Easter and defenceman Josh McVeigh guard the Kilty B's net during Monday's 3-1 win over St. Catharines. (Ken Pagan photo)
By Ken Pagan
The Hamilton Kilty B’s have had a rough start to the New Year, having dropped a pair of games so far to teams below them in the standings.
On Monday, exactly one month since they last beat a team ahead of them, they did it to the St. Catharines Falcons again.
Goaltender Justin Easter stopped 27 of 28 shots as the Kilty B's (23-14-3) pulled off a 3-1 win over the Falcons (27-12-2) at the Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena.
It was a good response after the Kilty B’s had dropped a 5-3 road decision to fifth-place Thorold (21-15-4) on Thursday. The previous Monday, the Kilty B’s needed overtime to beat the eighth-place Buffalo Regals (7-27-5) and during the first home Monday game of 2020 on Jan. 6, the Kilty B’s fell 5-3 to the seventh-place Fort Erie Meteors (8-24-5).
“I thought we played a pretty good game in Thorold, but we just didn’t get the breaks,” said Kilty B’s general manager Brian Rizzetto. “So the work we’ve been doing set up the hard work tonight. St. Catharines was down a couple quarts of oil tonight, but the guys bent today and got pushed around a little bit, but they didn’t break.
“What we’ve been doing in a lot of other games where we lose by a goal or lose late in the game is we break. Tonight, we didn’t break and we played hard for each other and finished it off.”
After Cail Cirillo scored the only goal of the first period for the third-place Falcons, Easter shut the door the rest of the way as the home club rallied with three unanswered goals against a St. Catharines club that was coming off a pair of weekend games against the second-place Niagara Falls Canucks.
Nick Giamou and Eli Rivers scored four minutes apart midway through the second period to put the Kilty B’s ahead and captain Jacob Macdonald sealed the win with an empty-netter.
The Kilty B's outshot the Falcons 31-28. Easter is now tied for the league lead with a .927 save percentage and is fourth with a 2.16 goals-against average.
Up next for the Kilty B’s is a road game on Sunday against the Welland Jr. Canadians (4-30-4) before back-to-back tils against second-place Niagara Falls (27-8-4), including next Monday at The Hive.
“We’re going to try to make sure we’re playing a hell of a game on Sunday against a Welland team that can be dangerous in order to lead us into the two big games against Niagara Falls,” Rizzetto said. “I’d like to be playing better in our home arena, and tonight I thought we showed a little more physicality doing that.”