Pat Payton, Gazette sports editor
Stratford Cullitons erupted for five goals in the third period, including three in a span of less than two minutes, en route to a 6-1 victory over Brampton Bombers Friday night at the Allman Arena.
The win was Cullitons fourth in a row, and their fifth in the last six Midwestern Conference games. The victory in front of over 1,300 spectators was also Stratford’s fourth straight on home ice, and they’ve allowed only seven goals against in those four games.
The win improved Cullitons’ record to 11-8-1, moving them into a sixth-place tie with Listowel Cyclones. Cyclones (12-10-1) lost 3-2 to the visiting Elmira Sugar Kings Friday. Cullitons are now just three points behind third-place Elmira (13-8-2), and eight behind the first-place Caledonia (15-6-3) and have two games in hand on the Corvairs.
Bombers (6-15-2), meanwhile, are going in the opposite direction. Friday’s loss was their 10th straight. They have collected just two points in that stretch–both from overtime losses.
Flurry early in third
In Friday’s game, Cullitons held a slim 1-0 lead after 40 minutes. However, goals by Jared Culliton, Trevor Sauder and rookie Dylan Wettlaufer–in a span of 1:58 early in the third–put the home team firmly in control. A shorthanded breakaway goal by Jake Ryan and another by Culliton made it 6-0 with just over five minutes to play.
Brampton’s Michael Darrigo spoiled goalie Nick Caldwell’s shutout bid with just 53 seconds left on the clock. S
hane O’Brien, with his team-leading 13th goal, gave Stratford a 1-0 lead in the final minute of the first period. O’Brien also had two assists for a three-point night and the second-year winger leads the team with 27 points.
Overall, Cullitons out-shot the Bombers 50-22, including 20-9 in the third. Stratford’s last loss at home in regulation time was back on Oct. 5 when they dropped a 4-3 decision to Waterloo Siskins.
Upcoming: On Sunday, Cullitons make their first trip to Listowel this season to play the Cyclones. Game time is 1:30 p.m.