Consistency key in Cyclones' surge

Listowel Cyclones forward Holdyn Lansink tries a wraparound against Stratford Warriors goalie Zack Weir earlier this season. Cory Smith/The Beacon Herald

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Here come the Listowel Cyclones.

Following their worst stretch of the season, the defending Sutherland Cup champions have won seven of eight games entering this weekend and are chasing down the Waterloo Siskins atop the Midwestern Conference.

I think it’s finding consistency,” Cyclones head coach Jason Brooks said. “We hit our bump in the road in November … and it was like the world was coming to an end almost. The reality is this is what we were expecting to go through, some harder times as a young team, and we hadn’t faced it. The way the group has responded coming out is playing more consistent … simple, fast, hard. Good defence. Are we perfect every night? No. But the work ethic is there, the teamwork, the idea of playing for each other is there, and hopefully at the end of the day it keeps getting better and better.”

Three of the Cyclones’ recent wins have come against top-four teams Waterloo, Stratford and Elmira, so there’s an element of playoff readiness with 16 games left in the regular season.

Goaltenders Riley McCabe and Evan Morrison have stepped up, and the rest of the Cyclones’ defensive structure has followed.

For us those are areas that have always been pretty good,” Brooks said.

While the trio of Holdyn Lansink, Chayse Herrfort and Brayden Krieger continues to fill the scoresheet, Listowel is getting secondary offence from the likes of Steven Grant, Trent Verbeek and Bryce McFadden. That line combined for six points in Sunday’s win in Stratford.

It takes time for young guys in their first season of Junior B to realize it’s not minor midget or major midget and they’re not king,” Brooks said. “They’re playing against better players and better coaches and it takes time to fight through those things. We’re getting more from all of our guys.”

Listowel (22-7-0-3) hosts Kitchener tonight at 7:30 and visits Elmira Sunday, the start of four straight games against those teams.

There’s always going to be a rough patch you’ll hit again,” Brooks said, “and it will be good for the kids.

I can say it benefitted us because of how we came out of it.”

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With six losses in their last eight games, the Stratford Warriors are in the middle of a logjam in the Midwestern Conference.

Stratford, which hosts Elmira tonight at 7:30, is coming off a 6-1 loss to Listowel last weekend. The Warriors (20-7-1-3) have slipped to third – three points back of Listowel and five behind Waterloo, and two points up on Elmira and five ahead of Kitchener.

Home hasn’t been sweet to Stratford during its slump, with three losses in its last four games at the Allman Arena.

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St. Marys faces Leamington tonight at 7:30 at the Pyramid Recreation Centre.

The Lincolns’ four-game point streak was snapped last weekend with a shutout loss in Komoka. St. Marys (9-22-3-1) is last in the Western Conference, five points behind St. Thomas for the final playoff spot.

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Josh Borys scored twice and added two assists in the Tavistock Braves’ 5-1 win in Ayr Thursday night. Mathew Walsh, Samson Walsom and Josh Helgerman also scored. Jake Wiffen picked up two assists.

Jensen Van Boekel made 17 saves in the win.

Tavistock (28-4-1-2), which is first in the Doherty Division, hosts Delhi tonight at 7:30.

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Mitchell wraps up a four-game homestand Saturday against Hanover at 7:30 p.m.

The Hawks have lost seven straight, including a 3-1 defeat Wednesday against Wingham. Mitchell (11-21-1-2) is sixth in the Pollock Division.

cosmith@postmedia.com

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