By Jonathon Brodie/London Community News / Twitter: @jonathonbrodie
The London Blue Devils haven’t even hit the midway point of their Ontario Junior B Lacrosse League schedule, but their game Saturday (May 19) might be their most meaningful of the season and they stood up to it in record-breaking fashion.
London walloped the Welland Warlords 24-4 in front of a home crowd at Earl Nichols Recreation Centre, a first for the Blue Devils passing the 20-goal mark in 60 minutes of play.
The closest anybody on the team administration could remember London even coming close to their new high score was after the Blue Devils’ inaugural game when they slipped 17 goals past the Wallaceburg Red Devils’ netminder in 2003. The record is unofficial, points out Blue Devils’ general manager/head coach Jeff Williamson, but he almost guarantees no team within the organization has beat it.
“We talked a bit between periods about keeping our foot on the gas pedal and that’s what they did,” Williamson chuckled a bit.
The win was impressive with the Blue Devils going a perfect 9-for-9 on the power play and 11 players contributing goals. Of the 20 players on the London roster, 16 collected at least one point.
“We didn’t try to take any dirty penalties in the game and just tried to do it all on the floor with the score,” said Dan Forbes, picking up first star honour after a four goal and three assist night. The hat trick is a first in the third year veteran’s Junior B career. Andrew Campbell also scored four goals for the Blue Devils and Patrick Masterson and Wati Feliciano found the back of the net three times each.
Forbes admitted going into the third period with 17 goals the team had their mind set on scoring 25 by final whistle and had no idea they were knocking on the door of a team record.
“We didn’t quite do it, but we tried,” he said.
There were plenty of players adding to the Blue Devils flooding of goals, but the most fulfilling score wasn’t the record-breaking point or even a high action play, instead it was two markers from Eric Guiltinan that only added to the blowout.
Guiltinan’s father, Chris, was on his way to a conference in Toronto when his car rolled over in Ancaster just after midnight, May 10. The 49-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
“Eric’s got a smile on his face and that’s real important,” Williamson said, holding his head down to hide the tears welding in his eyes. “It touches everyone still.”
The Blue Devils cancelled their road game against the Windsor Clippers on May 13 so the whole team could be with their teammate.
“We postponed our game and just came around as brothers and just wanted to support him,” Forbes said, adding he’s played lacrosse alongside Guiltinan for the last seven years and his father was a “great guy.”
Saturday’s game was the first at home since the crash and a tribute page was dedicated to the lacrosse dad in the program.
For the Blue Devils to produce such a big outcome in an emotional game shows one thing the heavily marked stat sheet in Saturday’s matchup doesn’t measure — heart.
“(Guiltinan) has given everything he has on the floor every night, he doesn’t take a night off,” Forbes said. “We’re here to fight together.”
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